HOUSTON – The AHEPA Chapter No. 29 Educational Foundation awarded scholarships totaling $53,000 at its 2019 Scholarship Awards Banquet at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Supreme President George Horiates was in Houston on August 14 to share in the joy and hope for our future and to see 41 students benefit from the Foundation’s generosity.
“The Houston Chapter and its Foundation are outstanding,” Horiates declared to more than 155 people in attendance. “AHEPA gives $1.8 million per year in scholarships at the local, district, and national levels,” according to Horiates.
The students honored included recent high school graduates heading to college, men and women already attending college, law students, medical students, and graduate students. They are all exceptional in their chosen fields, maintain high grades, and donate their time and talents to our community.
“I feel very honored to be a member of the Maids of Athena and to have received a scholarship. It is extremely generous for the AHEPA family,” said Mary Polydoros who is starting this fall at University of St. Thomas where she will major in studio art and ultimately pursue a Master’s in architecture. Her sister, Peggy Polydoros, who was honored at the AHEPA national convention in Chicago as the “Worthy Maid of the Year”, is studying English and Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations at Rice University and she also received a scholarship.
When asked about the banquet and his scholarship, University of Texas sophomore Christopher Spartalis, who is studying economics, said it was a great night and thanked Angie Kaitson for preparing an amazing meal.
“Each year we still have more applicants than we have available funds,” Scholarship Chair Chris Kaitson admitted, before declaring he will find a way “to increase the number of scholarships we award and the amount awarded.”
Since first awarding $2,000 in scholarships in 1990, AHEPA Chapter 29 and its Educational Foundation have now given out $728,000 in scholarships. The Foundation was formally incorporated in 2001. Kaitson, who is also Supreme Governor of Region 7, and Dr. Nick Patzakis are the only original founders still serving on the Foundation board today. Stan Patniyot is the current President.
When asked about the Foundation’s success, Kaitson said, “The growth of the Scholarship Program accelerated once we started the Scholarship Awards Banquet, which allowed donors to personally meet and hear from the recipients. Not only do we have annual donors, but we have estates making large donations endowing scholarships.”
This strategy was affirmed by scholarship recipient Alexandra Kakadiaris, who said she “was able to converse with Ahepans that made the night possible and who believed enough in all of the recipients to donate money for us to achieve our goals.” Kakadiaris is a sophomore attending George Washington University studying international business and business analytics with a minor in psychology.
Other distinguished attendees included: Past-Supreme President of AHEPA Anthony Kouzounis, District No. 16 Governor Nick “Coach” Voris, President of AHEPA Chapter No. 29, Doug Harris, and President of the Daughters of Penelope Chapter No. 54, Cathy Paraschos.