Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 Awards Annual Scholarships

PORT JEFFERSON, NY – On May 15, as part of the AHEPA Day celebration, Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 awarded four students of Stony Brook University’s Center for Hellenic Studies a total of $3,000 for their winning essays in a competition sponsored by the chapter.

Last year, AHEPA 319’s George Kallas and Dr. Stella Tsirka of Stony Brook University (SBU) partnered to create an essay competition for students of the Center for Hellenic Studies at Stony Brook. The theme of the essay competition was developed by Dr. Tsirka. Each participant interviewed several elderly Greek residents and documented how they were received and blended into the American culture, learned the language, became established in the community as citizens of the United States, and what advice they would have for the younger Greek-Americans. Correlations were encouraged to be drawn to the current immigration environment. Access to elderly Greek and Cypriot residents was facilitated by AHEPA.

Ahepan Brother John Tsunis presented students with their scholarships, certificates of achievement, and AHEPA medals. Photo: John Damaskos

This year the ceremony took place at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson, immediately following the Divine Liturgy. The services included Fr. Lou Nicholas blessing the Artoklasia, honoring the living members of AHEPA, and the memorial service with kolyva honoring the AHEPA members who have passed on. Fr. Demetrios Calogredes further recognized AHEPA by reading Archbishop Elpidophoros’ encyclical for AHEPA Sunday.

Nicholas Calogredes, AHEPA 319Chapter President, began the ceremony with a summary of AHEPA’s accomplishments, then introduced Ahepan Brother John Tsunis, who presented the parishioners with a summary of the focus of the competition and how it came to be.

President Calogredes presented a history of AHEPA and its mission. He spoke about its 100 years of service to the world and its never-ending commitment to education.

Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 President Nicholas Calogredes speaks to the community about AHEPA and its century of service. Photo: John Damaskos

Brother Tsunis was the original sponsor of the scholarship competition in 2021, and is also a co-sponsor this year, with fellow Ahepan Brother George Vlachos and Chapter Vice President George Kallas. Tsunis then introduced Dr. Tsirka, the director of SBU’s Center for Hellenic Studies, and liaison between AHEPA 319 and the Center. Dr. Tsirka thanked AHEPA for supporting the Center and for sponsoring the essay competition, and recognized Ahepan Brother Peter Tsantes as a major donor to SBU’s Center for Hellenic Studies. She also commented on her experience facilitating the AHEPA scholarship competition for the second year in a row, witnessing through the essays the living histories of the interviewees, and working with Professors Nikos Panou and Maria Athanasopoulou, the other faculty members of the Center for Hellenic Studies who participated in reviewing and selecting the students’ essays, and who also shared with the parish how these essays affected them.

The four winners of the Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 scholarship competition for 2022 are: Eleni Haralampopoulos ($1,000), Faith Keller ($1,000), Eros Lari ($500), and Marie Lolis ($500). Ahepans John Tsunis and George Vlachos presented the students with their award checks, certificates of scholastic achievement, and AHEPA medals.

Port Jefferson AHEPA Chapter 319 held the annual memorial service for departed members on May 15. Photo: John Damaskos

Each student in turn thanked AHEPA for the opportunity and the award, and commented on what they learned from the experience interviewing the Greek immigrants and writing the essay with their commentary on the current immigration environment. The students were encouraged to join the Daughters of Penelope or the Order of AHEPA during this centennial anniversary of AHEPA.

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


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