Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 Awards Annual Scholarships

PORT JEFFERSON, NY – As part of the AHEPA Day celebration on May 21, AHEPA Port Jefferson Chapter 319 awarded three students at Stony Brook University’s (SBU) Center for Hellenic Studies a total of $3,000 for their winning essays in a scholarship competition sponsored by the chapter.

Two years ago, George Kallas of AHEPA 319 and Dr. Stella Tsirka of SBU, partnered to create a scholarship competition targeted for students of the Center for Hellenic Studies. The theme of the essay competition was developed by Dr. Tsirka, and gave each participant the opportunity to interview several elderly Greek residents and document how they were received and blended into the American culture, learned the language, and became established in the community as citizens of the United States. Correlations were encouraged to be drawn to the current immigration environment. Access to elderly Greek and Cypriot residents was facilitated by AHEPA.

This year the ceremony took place at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson, immediately following the Divine Liturgy. During the liturgy, Fr. Louis Nicholas blessed the Artoklasia, honoring the living members of AHEPA, and the kolyva, honoring the AHEPA members who have passed on. He further recognized AHEPA by reading His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros’ encyclical.

Members of the Stony Brook University Center for Hellenic Studies, left to right: Professor Maria Athanasopoulou, Eleftherios Apollon Zoumpanidopoulos, Georgiana Misthos, Stella Tsirka, Peter Tsantes, and Sofia Tsantes (Demetris Kritikos not present). Photo: Courtesy of AHEPA

George Kallas, AHEPA 319 Chapter Vice President, kicked off the ceremony with a summary of how AHEPA came to be, and how its mission changed from helping Greek immigrants blend into the American society to now helping second and third generation Greek-Americans appreciate their Hellenic culture and heritage. He went on to describe the scholarship competition and how it started. At the end of his presentation, Kallas encouraged members of the parish to become members of the Daughters of Penelope or the Order of AHEPA and join in the perpetuation of Hellenic ideals, donating or volunteering time and energy needed to provide any and all in our communities with the much-needed assistance they so rightfully deserve.

Kallas then introduced Dr. Tsirka, the founder of SBU’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and liaison between AHEPA 319 and the Center. Dr. Tsirka thanked AHEPA for supporting the Center with the scholarship program and recognized Ahepan Peter Tsantes as donor and sponsor of SBU’s Center for Hellenic Studies. She also commented on her experience supporting the AHEPA scholarship competition for the third year in a row, working with Professor Maria Athanasopoulou, the faculty member of the Center for Hellenic Studies who participated in reviewing the competing students’ essays, and also shared their experience with the parish.

The three winners of the AHEPA Port Jefferson Chapter 319 scholarship competition for 2023 are: Georgiana Misthos, Eleftherios Apollon Zoumpanidopoulos (already an Ahepan Brother in the Port Jefferson chapter serving as Director of Social Media), and Demetrios Kritikos who was not present. Kallas presented each of the three competition winners with a check for $1,000 and a certificate of scholastic achievement.

Each student in turn presented a short speech to the parish, thanking AHEPA for the opportunity and the award, and commenting on what their main takeaway was from the experience interviewing the Greek immigrants and writing the essay with their commentary on the current state of immigration. Each student was encouraged to join the Maids of Athena or the Sons of Pericles, helping to carry out AHEPA’s mission of promoting the ancient Hellenic ideals of Education, Philanthropy, Civic Responsibility, and Family and Individual Excellence through community service and volunteerism.

The coffee hour at the church hall was sponsored by AHEPA and the Philoptochos.


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