ASTORIA – The high school of Saint Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria, the only daily Greek-American secondary school in the United States, was given a substantial gift by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Apostolos Tambakis.
The gift, which was made in the name of his late wife, Virginia Tambakis, consists of the donation of the Wantagh Professional Building in Wantaugh Long Island, which is located within walking distance of the Church of Saint Markella.
The building was recently assessed at $700,000 and contains ten rented offices which will provide the school with a steady source of income.
The donor, vacationing in Greece and waiting for his daughters to join him, paid a surprise visit to TNH’s offices in Athens and told TNH correspondent Aris Papadopoulos about his initiative.
With modesty, he said “I made my money in Astoria and want to give something back to the community. A year ago I promised to donate the building in memory of my wife, Virginia, but I was delayed until an inheritance issue was resolved.”
The gift puts Tambakis in the front ranks of the benefactors of the schools of St. Demetrios and his name will be added the list of donors at the entrance of the school complex.
The head of the schools Anastasios Koularmanis, by bringing the achievements of the schools to the attention of Tambakis, played a catalytic role in the donation according to School Board Chairman Nicholas Andriotis.
Tambakis is very excited by the school’s progress and was proud to be one of the featured speakers at the recent 12th grade graduation ceremony. His guidance to the graduates, which he offered not as a scientist but as a grandfather, was appreciated by the students and guests alike.
Among Tambakis’ contributions to the community is his granting space to the historic Hellenic Medical Society of New York at his offices in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
In January 2013 Tambakis donated 300 computers to four schools in Kalamata and covered the cost of shipping.
At the time of his donation, Tambakis said “I could have paid for cement for the pavements and the bell towers of our churches,” but it was better, he said, “to provide students with laptops because the future depends on technology…I expect all the students will benefit, and some will stand out.”
His donations support the spirit demanded by success in the modern world. “People must learn continuously, and develop, and create. We must be exhaust ourselves in our working lives,” and make contributions to society, he said.
Andriotis and Koularmanis told TNH that they welcomed the donation and emphasized that it rewards the achievements of parents and teachers.
They noted the donation is one the biggest the school has received in the second decade of the 21st century, second after the gift of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), whose gifts began after the turn of the millennium and now exceed $2 million.
Tambakis’ name will now be added to the list of grand benefactors which includes SNF, Petros Patridis, and Petros Sarantakos.