By Catherine Tsounis
Three hundred persons attended the Testimonial/Dinner Dance in honor of Principal Demosthenes Triantafillou by the PTA of the Hellenic School at the Church of Our Saviour , Rye, New York on Saturday, May 5th in the church hall. The Greek parody artist Sotiri and student performances entertained all. PTA Marinella Kourounis worked several months to make this event a resounding success. Chef Mike Kourounis with associates John Lambros and John Pappas donated their time to create and outstanding dinner buffet. Parish Council President is Nicholas Balidis. Father Elias Vilis is Proistamenos (priest).
“It is a joy and privilege for me to celebrate and honor our beloved Principal Demosthenes Triantafillou,” said Father Vilis. “He is a man of great passion for Greek education and love for our students. Those who know him can attest to his creativity, his desire to always offer his best and his will to always do more. Our Hellenic School has earned marks of respect from our Archbishop and neighboring parishes because of his dedication… Thank you, Mr. Triantafillou for your love and dedication for our students and families. It is a privilege to work with you. Be assured of my sincere prayers for the continuing scholastic achievements I know you will earn.”
The PTA Board believes the honoree “has dedicated his life to promoting Hellenism…He has influenced thousands of Greek-speaking children spanning two generations. Mr. Triantafillou was chosen to lead our school (k-8) nine years ago. Since then, he has been a continuous source of inspiration, guidance and innovation in the teaching of the Greek language, values of the Greek civilization and Orthodoxy to our students.”
In the Hellenic School at the Church of Our Saviour , Rye, his achievements are as follows: 1. Introduced conversational one-hour courses with great success; 2. Started graduation with caps and gowns in June of 2010; 2. Color Year Books in June 2010; 4. Introduced thematic dialogues on the beginning of classes; 5. Developed Curriculum Outlines for all grades; 6. Incorporated sports and mini Olympics in the curriculum; 7. Organized student trips to Astoria and Columbia University; 8. Promoted the installation and use of modern technology as an instructional tool in the classroom; 9. Initiated HW emails to parents by Teachers; 10. Started the celebration programs For the Greek Letters Day with Ancient Greek Tragedies and contemporary Greek Comedies. 11. Introduced the Ellinomatheia exams and participation in the Dr. Papanicolaou Student Essay Contest.
Principal Triantafillou’s exceptional education accomplishments include: Organized the first pedagogical programs for training Greek Teachers at the School of the Ascension Church in Fairview, Connecticut with Dr. Thaleia Chadigiannoglou, the education director in the Greek Consulate, New York; 19 Annual Summer Education Programs in Greece-Athens-Dodecanese Islands of students and teachers. The programs were organized by the Dodecanesean Institute of Dodecanesean Studies that he founded; Established the Dr. Papanicolaou Student Essay Contest on the life and work of Dr. Papanicolaou; Founder and first Principal of St. Demetrios of Astoria Greek American High School from 1973-1982; the first Afternoon Greek Gymnasio from grades 7-9 in September 2006 at the Hellenic School of the Ascension Greek orthodox Church, Fairview, New Jersey; Organized the Greek Teachers Association Prometheus 40th Anniversary Honorary Luncheon in Terrace on the Park, Flushing. His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios honored all the presidents of Prometheus for their dedication and service. More than 250 educators and friends attended; Principal Triantafillou honored by His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and Greece’s Minister of Education Dr. Th. Pelegrinis at the February 24, 2016 40th Anniversary Luncheon with his late wife Barbara by his side. He serves as President of the Greek Teacher’s Association Prometheus from 2013-2018.
Prof. Demosthenes Triantafillou was honored as “Educator of the Year” in 2018 by The Ethniko Kirikas, a Greek Media outlet. A filled room with diplomats, businessmen, educators and parents came to honor Prof. Triantafillou. He served as a public school assistantprincipal. He is licensed as a principal and a superintendent in New York State – and he is currently the Director of the Greek schools of the of the Ascension Church in Fairview, NJ and of The Church of the Savior in Rye, NY. He is President of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus”. He has a new vision: establishing a Pedagogical Greek Teacher’s Center in a NYC university. The educator is committed to having the Greek Teacher’s Association “Prometheus” take the lead in establishing a retirement fund for its members.
He was born in Nisyros and grew up in Rhodes, Greece. He has been living in New York and New Jersey. His late wife Barbara inspired him. He attended three of the best Universities: New York University, Fordham University and Columbia University majoring in Greek Philosophy, and literature, History of Science, School Administration and Supervision and Pedagogy in the Graduate School of Education of Fordham. He is a licensed School Bachelors, two Masters, and Doctoral Studies, ABD. His Master’s thesis at The Graduate School of New York University was: ” The historical development of truth in Greek thinking from Homer to Aristotle.”
At Columbia University he studied the American involvement in the Greek Revolution of 1821″; some of his research at Fordham School of Education was Educational Leadership, Teaching Methodologies and Teaching Greek using etymology. His Educational Experience in American public Schools, parochial schools and private nondenominational Schools:
- Principal of the Ascension Greek School at the Ascension Church in Fairview , N. J. ( Administration and Teaching); 2. Principal of the Hellenic School , Greek Orthodox Church of Our Saviour, in Rye, N.Y.( Administration and Teaching); 3. Principal of the Day School of St. Demetrios in Astoria from 1973-1982. ;4. Assistant Principal at the High School for the Humanities ( Administration and Teaching); 5. Assistant Principal at the Stuyvesant
High School, summer programs ( Administration and Teaching); 6. Teacher at the Henley College Prep; 7. Part time instructor in Philosophy at L . I. U.
In addition to his program biography, Prof. Triantafillou accomplished the following: first Bilingual Greek/English Nursery School “The Sun” in its own building in Astoria, 46th St. and Broadway; Demosthenes Academy, first as a bilingual and High School Academy and later rented classrooms at the Henley College prep in Jamaica Estates, where he was teaching, to start the first Greek American High School; worked as a research scientist at Columbia University Research Center in Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, publishing scientific papers in “Biochemistry” and “Clinical Nutrition”.
His publications include: . ” My First Poems” , 1964; . ” Poetry: A Path to Immortality”, 1974; ” History of the Dodecanesean Societies in America and Canada”. 1987; . 10 educational articles in the Greek Newspaper ” Proini”, 1981; . Three books with the title ” I am Learning Greek”, with a team of Teachers at St. Demetrios School, 1979; 21 Educational articles in the Greek Paper ” National Herald”. 1978-79; . Publication of the bilingual magazine ” Dodecanesa”
Publication of the newspaper; ” Greek American Education”, 1979; Many articles on the life and scientific works of Dr. George Papanicolaou, Discover of the PAP Test; The involvement of America in theGreek Revolution of 1821: The beginning of the Greek American Relations” Research Paper; ” The triptych plan of establishing a Center for the training of Greek Teachers
n a University in New York”; Commemorative 40th Anniversary of Prometheus, FEBRUARY 28, 2016; ” The Founding of the First Greek American School: A paradigm of EducationalLeadership in the Greek American Community”, research paper at Fordham University School of Education; Greek Curriculum Outlines for Grades K-9 at the Ascension School inFairview; School Discipline Code at the Ascension School in Fairview; Examinations in Dodecanesean History , 2002; “Scientific discoveries and Serendipity”, the Dr. Papanicolaou symposium, Cornell Medical Center, York Hospital, 2010; ” he idea of freedom in the works of Nick Kazantzakis”, research paper at the Graduate School of Arts and Science, NYU,1968; ” he immortality of the soul in Plato’s Philosophy”, research paper, School of Philosophy , N. Y. U. 1967 and “Language and reality: The Aristotelean theory of truth as Correspondence”, research paper, School of Philosophy, NYU, 1972.
On Thursday, May 10th at 6 p.m. at the Dr. George N. Papanicolaou Symposium, in the Weill Cornell Medical College, New York City, the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” under the leadership of President Triantafillou gave 12 scholarships of $250 each and academic award to winners of the Dr. George N. Papanicolaou Essay contest. The scholarship amount total is $3000. These unique scholarships were initiated by President Triantafillou.
Information and photographs for this article was provided by PT Kostas Koutsoubis. For further information and highlights of Prof. Triantafillou’s career, contact [email protected] for a program.