By Catherine Tsounis
“We are having a Christmas Party honoring persons and giving scholarships,” said Vasiliki Filiotis, President of Hellenic PAIDEA of America. “We are working with President Stella Kokolis of the Federation of Hellenic-American Educators & Cultural Associations of America and Maria Markou, President of the Hellenic Women’s Alliance.” There will be music entertainment and a buffet dinner. It is FREE to the public. Come.” Mrs. Filiotis is popular in the community of St. Irene Chrysovalantou in Astoria with a wide following of friends. In a rainstorm, we drove to Astoria, December 16th evening to the Hellenic Cultural Center at 27-09 Crescent Street, Astoria.
Prominent persons of the Greek American community attended. Keynote speaker was Chaplain/Dr. Ingrid P. Lewis-Martin, Chief Advisor to NYC Mayor Adams, who spoke about “The Meaning if Giving.” An escape from the stressful Christmas season, we enjoyed the musical presentations with top Greek immigrant singers and musicians. The persons honored and scholarship winners included: Honorees Mrs. Nadia Lambriniadis, Mother of His Eminence, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church of America, Mrs. Dimitra Stamkopoulos, Mother of Rev. Gregory Telemachos Stamkopoulos and others; Honored educators Mrs. Eva Panaghi and Mrs. Efrosini Mancini; scholarship recipients of $1,000 Evgenia Katechis, Nicole Vlachou, Manolis Lambrakis and Elias Rontos, Educator of the Year honoree Mrs. Panagiota Pehlivanidis; Honorees Marietta Pilarinou, Elenis Tsouni, PS 17 and others. This is an incomplete list. Please contact Hellenic Women’s Alliance on Facebook for more details.
“As educators, we must dedicate ourselves to the needs of children,” said NYC Greek Education Counsel Eirini Grapsia. “We must keep alive the true meaning of Christmas with the birth of Jesus Christ.”
“Tonight, we are honoring the Mothers of outstanding members of the Greek Orthodox faith,” said Mrs. Stella Kokolis. “Family , church and country are the values of Greek Americans.”
“We encourage every child to succeed,” explained Maria Marcou. “Family and profession go together. We have five hundred members across the United States in the Hellenic Women’s Alliance. We all donate to Greek Orthodox philanthropies. We were immigrants who moved up and engage in philanthropies.” The night belonged to Presidents Vasiliki Filiotis, Stella Kokolis and Maria Marcou and their enthusiastic volunteers. The musical presentations were by Fotini Tsiloni and maestro Yannis Dimos and others. Stamatis Restaurant of Astoria prepared all food. Photos by Konstantinos Lambropoulos and Greek Education Counsel Eirini Grapsia.