CHERRY HILL, NJ – The Saint Thomas Hellenic School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) held its largest fundraiser of the year on February 10. The Danielle Kousoulis Cultural Center was filled to capacity with Greek School students, their parents, siblings, pappouthes, yiayiathes, aunts, uncles, cousins and Greek School alumni and supporters. The room was beautifully adorned with glowing centerpieces, masquerade-themed decorations, and a projected slide show of pictures of the graduating Hellenic School students over the years.
The evening commenced with the blessing by the community’s presiding priest, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Avgoustinos Psomas with meaningful words thanking all those who worked hard to put the evening together as well as all the students and their families who make the necessary sacrifices to bring the students to school so that we can maintain and perpetuate our Hellenic identify and most importantly our Greek Orthodox faith.
Remarks were also shared by PTO President Athena Poulathas, School principal Margarita Vrettos, and Parish Council President and Archon Tasos Efstratiades, each of whom congratulated the students and offered words of encouragement. Each Greek School class then performed a Greek dance from the various regions of Greece under the instruction of the School’s dance teacher, George Kleftogiannis. The highlight of the dance performances was the graduating class’ performance of the Zorba the Greek Syrtaki. The graduating class also performed their special dance tricks during the Hasaposerviko portion of the dance. All in attendance clapped along with students during their dance performances and were truly so impressed that from the youngest grade to the oldest, the students performed their choreographed feats so well and to the beat.
Guests enjoyed sumptuous Greek cold and hot ‘pikilia’ appetizers, salad, multiple dinner selections, and dessert by Adelphia catering hall which is proudly owned and operated by St. Thomas’ longstanding benefactors, the Balis Family. Together with the great meal and performances by the students, everyone had wonderful ‘kefi’ and danced the night away with Greek music performed by Sergiani Band and DJ Maki.
Another great highlight for the students was the announcement of the raffle winners with prizes ranging from Philadelphia Eagles gear, Lululemon favorites, American Girl Dolls, electric scooters, Lego lovers basket, and a 50/50 raffle. The ultimate reward for the school, parents and families was the continuous smiling faces of all the children who had a wonderful evening and hand in hand danced together creating Greek bonds and memories that will last them a lifetime.
The PTO expressed its gratitude to the students, the Hellenic School staff, their spiritual father, Fr. Psomas, Steve Lambrou, photo reporter, who covers all of their events, and all the parents and supporters who put forward time, effort, and funds to make the evening a record-breaking fundraiser and a truly memorable and enjoyable event.