Gianna Fernandez, Rockledge, FL; Accounting, University of Florida.
(Photo provided by FAITH)
NEW YORK – In its nineteenth year championing education and empowering young Greek-American leaders, FAITH: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism, awarded 96 FAITH Scholarships for Academic Excellence to top graduating high school seniors and 72 FAITH Scholarships for Excellence in STEM.
FAITH Scholars demonstrate exemplary academic achievement, leadership within the Greek-American community, and a commitment to volunteerism and charitable works. The 2023 FAITH Scholars join a network of over 800 FAITH Scholar alumni from across the U.S. who embody FAITH’s mission of excellence in education.
“Joining this community does not only help me pay for my higher education, but also exposes me to other like-minded individuals who are looking to make a difference in the world,” shared Sophia Thornberg, a 2023 FAITH Scholar studying Communications at the University of Loyola Maryland.
This year’s class set a new record in FAITH history – boasting the most valedictorians and National Merit Scholars and earning the highest average GPA of 3.82. Graduating at the top 10% of their class while maintaining an A-grade point average, all of the 2023 FAITH Scholars were enrolled in advanced level courses and averaged in the 90th percentile on their AP, SAT, and ACT tests. Along with averaging 375 hours of community service, nearly all FAITH Scholars held elected positions in school clubs such as student council and robotics teams and in their communities, founding Greek clubs and leading Greek and Hellenic youth associations.
Adjectives like ‘trailblazer’ and ‘initiative-taker’ were often used by teachers and youth leaders to describe the impact these young leaders have had in their classrooms and beyond – because when there is a problem, a FAITH Scholar will find a solution. After learning that many of his peers were struggling with the college application process, John Hatzis, a Political Science major at Grove City College, founded a student advisory committee to provide students with free resources, test prep, and application assistance. Lukas Koutsoukos, who is studying Classics at Yale University, founded a tutoring company that donates all proceeds to his local food bank. Demetra Giannakopoulos, a Biology major at Rutgers University, founded a Buddy System mentorship program at her Greek youth group to make younger members feel welcome and started a nonprofit with her siblings providing iPads to hospitalized patients to connect with their families during the pandemic. And Gianna Fernandez, an Accounting major at University of Florida, created a program performing traditional Greek dances and sharing traditional foods for the senior residents at a local assisted living center. The event was such a hit she was asked to make it an annual event.
“My Hellenic heritage will continue to guide me as I progress in my college years, in my future career, and in offering community service to others. I will continue to work hard and demonstrate how the FAITH Scholarship for Academic excellence helped propel me towards success in my future,” said Evan Varlas, a 2023 FAITH Scholar and Finance major at Pennsylvania State University.
The 72 matriculated college students received their FAITH Scholarship for Excellence in STEM continuation awards, bringing the grand total of scholarships FAITH awarded in 2023 to 168. From aspiring immunologists and aerospace engineers to future neuroscientists and biotechnologists, the 2023 FAITH-STEM Scholars are celebrated for their continued leadership within their Greek and Hellenic communities and innovative developments in their STEM fields. This group of FAITH Scholars are eligible to receive support their sophomore, junior and senior years if they major in a STEM field, maintain a 3.6 GPA, and are actively involved in Hellenic and Greek Orthodox organizations.
Since the Endowment’s inception, the Founders of FAITH have generously awarded over 2,100 grants and scholarships to the most promising young leaders of the Hellenic American and Greek Orthodox community.
NEW YORK – Consul General of Greece in New York Dinos Konstantinou in collaboration with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America hosted the opening reception of the moving exhibition Echoes of Asia Minor: Life, Catastrophe and Resilience on November 29 at the Consulate General of Greece in New York.
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