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Politics

St. Katherine Foundation Annual Awards Scholarships

June 9, 2018
Vasilis Papoutsis

REDONDO BEACH, CA – The St. Katherine Foundation was conceived by the late Dr. Demetreos N. Halikis, who wanted to help the St. Katherine ministries in Redondo Beach, CA to flourish. Father Michael Courey of the Church had given his blessing to the initiative after Dr. Halikis had articulated his vision for the foundation and on June 6, 2000, the original board and the bylaws of the foundation were installed. The highlight of the Foundations’ activities is the annual scholarship awards that benefit students from St. Katherine’s community.

Rosalind Farmans Halikis, Foundation Vice President and Scholarship Chair, said that “this year we are awarding 15 scholarships, 6 high school seniors, 8 undergraduates, and 1 graduate student. When we started this program in 2007, we were not able to award anywhere nearly as many scholarships because the funds were simply not available. With God’s blessings we were able to do so today.”

The total amount awarded for this year’s scholarships was close to $30,000. The scholarships are strictly based on merit and not on financial need. The basic requirement is a cumulative 3.5 GPA for high school students and a 3.4 GPA for college students although most of them far exceeded the required minimum.

“We truly have an amazing group of students who are really exceptional, not only in academics but also in their community service,” Halikis told The National Herald.

One of those students is Max Ramseyer, who graduated from Duke University and will be attending the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Mind, Brain, and Education master’s program. He said “I am grateful to Fr. Michael Courey and my St. Katherine community for the love and support that they gave me. My hope is to use my education to help all people reach their true potential in life.”

The deadline for applications is in April. Applications are available in the church office several months before the deadline. Once the foundation board has received the sealed, completed applications they are turned over to an independent committee at the Loyola Marymount University (LMU), who are the only ones who review the applications and determine their ranking. The three-person committee was chaired by Demetrios Liappas, the longtime Director of The Basil P. Caloyeras Center for Modern Greek Studies at LMU. This was Mr. Liappas last time to chair the committee as he has retired after 45 years of dedicated service to the Center and the Greek community at large.

After the Foundation’s Board receives the ranking from the LMU committee, they then meet in order to determine the amounts to be awarded on the basis of their ranking and the available funds. To this day, the Foundation has awarded more than $220,000 since 2007.

Trianna Mitsanas, one of the scholarship recipients and Haliki’s granddaughter, will be attending LMU majoring in theater with a minor in psychology, said, “my grandmother always has a smile on her face, she constantly puts herself before others. Her intelligence shines through in her ability to to effectively organize the Foundation’s Scholarship program. I admire her selflessness and dedication to her family.”

Another scholarship recipient, Kasiani Wolfe is a senior at Chaminade High School and will be attending the University of Alabama majoring in nursing while pursuing an MBA through a STEM MBA program, told TNH that along with her family she takes “the 30 mile drive every Sunday to St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church in Redondo Beach where I was baptized, attended Sunday school and got involved with GOYA. This is a strong faith based community that had great influence on me and the scholarships I received both from the Oratorical festival and the Foundation will help me with my education.”

The other scholarship recipients are: Harrison Dulgarian (University of Alabama), Jason Edwards (UC Santa Barbara), Alyssa Eliopoulos (Washington State University), Namie Fotion (UCLA), Vasiliki Gianoukakis (University of Nevada), Megan Hood (Kent State University), Jacoub Malki (UCLA), Arianna Menzelos (University of Columbia), Garrett Pierson (California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo), Lauren Pierson (Montana State University), Steliani Tragus (Chapman University), and Valentina Lyn (De Paul University).

Rosalind Halikis who has won many awards for the philanthropic contributions, among them The Archdiocesan Medal of St. Paul in 2013, told TNH that “the majority of our funds are raised from 9 endowments that bring in over $20,000 a year. Our annual fundraiser is the Thanksgiving Benefit Drawing the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Last year, we raised approximately $12,000 and we hope we can raise even more money this year and offer more scholarships.”

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