NEW YORK – Faith: An Endowment for Orthodoxy and Hellenism announced that 65 graduating high school seniors received its Scholarship for Academic Excellence in 2017. In its 13th year supporting young people in the Greek and Hellenic community through sponsoring this competitive merit-based scholarship series, Faith received a record-breaking number of applications from qualified candidates ranked within the top of their graduating class at high schools in the United States and across the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America.
“I am very pleased to recognize the exceptional talents and accomplishments among this year’s candidates who will be preparing to take on the many challenges facing people around the globe,” said Faith Founder Dr. P. Roy Vagelos, Retired CEO of Merck & Co., Inc., Chairman of the Board of Regeneron, philanthropist and member of the National Academy of Sciences He chairs the Faith Review Committee, which evaluated the applications.
Faithsaid the Scholars demonstrated their readiness to pursue a diverse set of majors, from Biomedical Engineering and Agribusiness to Economics and English, at the country’s top universities by displaying a high-level of academic achievement, a commitment to leadership and a strong spirit of community service and good citizenship.
“Growing up Greek Orthodox, I have looked up to Greek-American philanthropists like the Founders of Faith as role models through their generous contributions to the many Greek American organizations around the country. Through the help of my education and future endeavors, I strive to one day have the opportunity to give back to my Hellenic roots,” said scholarship recipient John Melizanis, who will attend the University of California, Berkeley.
On average, each 2017 Faith Scholar scored within the 95th percentile for ACT and SAT college readiness tests, maintained an A average and took seven to nine Advanced Placement courses. More than 60 percent founded school clubs, interned in a field related to their proposed college major, served in student government and joined multiple academic honor societies. Committing to over an average of 350 hours of community service, the 2017 Faith Scholars organized blood drives, volunteered at children’s hospitals and community clean-ups, and tutored their peers through mentorship programs.
The new class of Faith Scholars joins a network of over 300 young people who have been recognized for excellence in academic achievements and leadership in the Greek and Hellenic community.
“The Faith Scholarship for Academic Excellence provides a network of other awardees with whom I can collaborate professionally. Achievement of this goal strengthens the reputation and prominence of the Hellenic community and serves as an example to its younger generation. Personal success in this area allows me to follow the long line of Greek-American philanthropists who have supported the Church and the broader society,” said Loukas Carayannopoulos, a 2017 Faith Scholar and Nuclear Engineering major at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Kyriaki Pagones, who plans to major in nursing at Purdue University, said, “I am so thankful for an opportunity like the Faith Scholarship for Academic Excellence that recognizes dedication to our education, our Hellenic heritage and our philanthropic Orthodox faith.”
Additionally, 23 Faith Scholars from previous years received the Faith Scholarship for Excellence in STEM, bringing the grand total of scholarships Faith awarded in 2017 to 88. This special scholarship series supports all four years of candidates’ undergraduate studies if they major in a STEM field (science, technology, engineering and math), maintain a 3.6 minimum GPA and participate in organizations related to the Greek and Hellenic Orthodox community throughout their college career.
“A background in STEM subjects will be critical for obtaining graduate training and jobs in science, technology and engineering in the future. Our nation needs and will need people well trained in these fields in order to remain globally competitive, and it’s important to support young Greek Americans in these fields,” said Dr. Vagelos.
Faith was founded in 2004 with the core mission to promote an understanding of the Greek Orthodox faith, Hellenism and excellence through a series of high quality, innovative educational programs, and cultural initiatives.