[This article was submitted by Helen Karagiorgos, a College Advisor at St. Demetrios High School]
Traditionally, April is a stressful month for high school seniors as they wait to hear which colleges and universities have accepted them for the fall semester. For several students at St. Demetrios, “good news” came early as they heard from prestigious universities and colleges that they had been accepted with lucrative scholarships.
Ioanna Katehis, the Valedictorian for the Class of 2014, was accepted to nearly every college/university to which she applied, including Sophie Davis School of Medicine, Cornell University, University of Health Sciences (Philadelphia), St. John’s University College of Pharmacy, the Macaulay Honors College of the City University of New York, Stony Brook University, and Fordham University.
What makes this young lady stand out is the fact that the schools that have accepted her are especially competitive and only accept a fraction of the applicants. For example, Sophie Davis and Macaulay take less than 100 students in their college freshman class. As a Quest Bridge Scholarship finalist, Katehis pursued the application process rigorously and maintained a 97 average throughout high school while also engaging in numerous extracurricular activities such as athletics, traditional Greek dance, community service, and a part-time job.
Katehis is most interested in pursuing college studies in Biology/Chemistry with the goal of becoming a professional in the field of medicine. She has been a student at St. Demetrios School since pre-Kindergarten and she is fluent in both Greek and English, speaking and writing the languages with ease. Recently Katehis, along with Salutatorian Maria Papadopoulos, were invited to represent young Greek-Americans at a forum in Constantinople (Istanbul) honoring the Greek poet/writer Georgios Seferis. The young ladies spoke about his works and the influence that Seferis had on Hellenic literature and poetry.
Papadopoulos has also been a student of the St. Demetrios School system since pre-Kindergarten. She is a born leader who does not hesitate to represent her school and her community at any event; she has maintained a 96 average throughout high school while also earning commendations for her athletic achievements in soccer and basketball.
Papadopoulos is active in the Pontian Society “Komninoi” and is an active member of the Greek Orthodox Youth Association at St. Demetrios Cathedral. She has volunteered her time as a peer tutor and teacher assistant since the 9th grade, making significant differences in the lives of elementary school students who were struggling academically. She has been accepted to the combined BA/MS Speech Communications/Disorders program at Long Island University (Brooklyn campus), Fordham University, Hunter College, Queens College, Adelphi University, and Loyola University (Maryland). Maria aspires to work with children in the school environment as a speech therapist.
Fani Tzikas and Panagiotis Tsampas were also students of the St. Demetrios School system since pre-Kindergarten, before moving to Greece at the end of the 5th grade, where they completed elementary school and began their high school studies. Two years ago both returned to New York due to the economic crisis in Greece and for the opportunity to pursue their studies in the United States. They both also returned to their “roots,” St. Demetrios, where they exceled in all academic subjects, especially math and science.
Along with Katehis and Papadopoulos, Tzikas and Tsampas studied college level courses at St. John’s University, Mercy College, and Long Island University. They did well on the critical SAT and TOEFL exams, which allowed them to apply and be accepted to colleges/universities throughout the country. Tzikas, who is a volunteer at the New York Hospital of Queens and is looking forward to studying pre-med, has been accepted to Albany College of Pharmacy and Medicine, Drexel University, New York Institute of Technology, Pace University, St. John’s University College of Pharmacy, Long Island University Honors Program, and Hunter College. Tsampas would like to become an engineer; he will be studying Mechanics and Computer Science at the Grove School of Engineering at City College, which accepts only 100 applicants per year. Tsampas was also accepted to Manhattan College School of Engineering and the New York Institute of Technology.
Charles Athanasopoulos is also a success story of the Class of 2014. He is a nationally-recognized debate champion who has competed and won several titles in the field in which he has participated since the 7th grade. Athanasopoulos came to St. Demetrios in the 9th grade after attending public schools. As the child of mixed heritage, he is proud of his ethnic backgrounds and looks forward to assisting the needy from all backgrounds as an attorney in the future. Because of his ease and articulation of the English language as a debater, Athanasopoulos was awarded several valuable scholarships to study at New York University, Wake Forest, Binghamton University, and University of California (Irvine). These institutions have offered to provide him with housing and other accommodations as part of his acceptances.
This list of students is just a small sample of the senior class students who have made the Greek-American community of Astoria proud of their achievements. This year’s senior class was a dynamic group that was actively involved in academic and extracurricular affairs that signify their strengths, motivation, and pride. As the month progresses, we are certain that all of the students above and the rest of the senior class will have more good news about college/university acceptances to report.