One hundred and fifty persons packed the Heritage Museum of Epirus at 25-14 Broadway, New York on Sunday September 24th to show loyalty and respect for the Greek language, culture and Greek Orthodox faith in the United States of America. The Hellenic News of America, Hellenic American National Council, Prometheus Greek Teachers Association, The Heritage Museum of Epirus and Hellenic Paideia Association of America will sponsor a Greek Heritage Education Luncheon honored Catherine Tsounis, Journalist/Writer/Educator of the Greek Language and Culture. Soprano Olga Xanthopoulos, internationally famous soprano, sang Tzivaeri, to honor Ms. Tsounis Asia Minor roots. Pianist/violinist/guitarist Erasmia Voulelatos added popular Greek melodies.
A power point presentation was presented by Prof. Tsounis describing her roots, highlights of her 53-year career in Journalism from a High School sophomore, Real Estate Broker at Andrew Stype Real Estate in Mattituck, NY, and appreciation to sponsors and their staffs. The theme was “What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others’ by Pericles. “I was deeply touched by the round of applause for my immigrant grandfather, Vlassios Tsounis, who served in the U.S. army in 1914,” said Prof. Tsounis. “He was a decorated purple heart veteran with the equivalent of the silver star. My father, George Tsounis was a second-generation purple heart recipient and a WWII prisoner of war for one year in East Germany. I was taught ‘my country right or wrong”. Because 75% of my family were refugees from the shores of Asia Minor, losing their lives because they remained Greek and Greek Orthodox, I felt I had a moral duty to perpetuate the Greek language, culture and Orthodox religion. My slide program showed my commitment to Hellenism since I was a teenager during the Vietnam War.” The September 24, 2017 PowerPoint Presentation by Catherine Tsounis was assisted by: Jerry Matovcik, under Director Jeff Walden of Mattituck Library, N.Y.; edited by Despina Siolas, MD/Ph.D.; program direction: Thanasis Tsuvelis, Michael Giakumelos MGTV USA and Prof. Alexander Colombos, Technology Director and Secretary of the Board of the Greek Teachers Association Prometheus.
A lavish luncheon, complements of the Sponsors, was served by the Greek Teachers Association Prometheus Board and members. Mrs. Chrisoula Zicopoulos, Director of the Heritage Museum of Epirus, Eva Kantlis, Vice-President, Society Epirotans “Anagenesis” and Panagiotis Vlassis helped in preparing the hall. All were invited to visit the Heritage Museum of Epirus. Irene Cheung, Founder and President of the Key Luck Club, has been assisting the societies with community support in Queens. A Prometheus Greek Teachers Fund was launched. Dr. Aristotle Michopoulos, Professor and Director of Greek Studies at Hellenic College, donated $10,000 along with other donors. For a complete list of donors and information, email [email protected].
The following Awards were given from The Hellenic News of America, Hellenic American National Council, Mid Atlantic Greek-American Foundation for Sergiani for Epirus, Prometheus Greek Teachers Association, Hellenic Paideia Association of America, and Federation of Hellenic American Teachers. Mrs. Elaine Xiaojiang Fan, Queens Borough Director of the City of New York Comptroller’s Office of Scott M. Stringer presented a 20 inch framed Commendation “for her many years of exceptional journalism, reporting on issues that matter to New York City’s Greek American community; for her commitment to preserving and promoting Greece’s rich history and vibrant culture; for her outstanding service as an educator at St. John’s University; for sharing the diversity that Greek Americans bring to our City’s cultural landscape with readers; for honoring Greece’s extraordinary contributions to the world; gaining the respect, appreciation and gratitude of all she has worked with; and for her tremendous contributions to the City of New York. Scott M. Stringer, Comptroller, September 24, 2017.”
Mrs. Irene Cheung, President of the Key Luck Club of Bayside, New York said “Catherine Tsounis is a part of our community. I present this Merit Citation on behalf of Barry S. Grodenchik of the City Council.” The following citations were given from: Nicole Malliotakis, NYS Assembly; Aravella Simotas, NYS Assembly; Edward C. Braunstein, NYS Assembly; Paul Valone, NY City Council; Costa Constantinides, NY City Council and Michael N. Gianaris, NYS Senate District. B’NAI B’RITH INTERNATIONAL President Prof. Asher J. Matathias presented “the happy augury that is the Greek Heritage Luncheon honoring Prof. Catherine Tsounis Siolas who has achieved distinctions as a writer, journalist and educator.”
The program opened with greetings by the following persons: Mr. Timoleon Kokkinos, Master of Ceremonies; Dr. Aristotle Michopoulos; President Demosthenes Triantafillou; Dr. Thalia Chadzigiannoglou, Education Counselor of the Greek Consulate of New York; Mrs. Maria Makedon, Director of Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education; HNA Publisher Paul Kotrotsios, Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian; President Vasiliki Filiotis of Hellenic Paideia of America who represented Stella Kokolis, President of the Federation of Greek American Educators, Mrs. Elaine Xiaojiang Fan, Queens Borough Director of the City of New York Comptroller’s Office and Mrs. Irene Cheung, President of the Key Luck Club of Bayside.
Master of Ceremonies Timoleon Kokkinos, a popular Astoria educator and former principal, thanked all for coming. Dr. Aristotle Michopoulos, Professor and Director of Greek Studies at Hellenic College, encouraged all to join the Prometheus Greek Teachers Fund. Dr. Thalia Chadzigiannoglou, Education Counselor of the Greek Consulate of New York expressed “sincere appreciation for Prof. Tsounis’ dedication to Greek education. I invite all to aid Greek education.” Dr. Chadzigiannoglou initiated the first formal pedagogical programs which she taught free of charge to hundreds of Greek teachers in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. Mrs. Maria Makedon, Director of Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education, thanked the honoree for her dedication to Hellenism and the Greek Orthodox church. Mrs. Makedon with her Director the late Emmanuel Hatziemmanuel licensed Catherine Tsounis with a Greek Teachers license in 1975, aiding her in administering the first Greek regent exam in eastern Long Island.
Queens Gazette Publisher Tony Barsamian said “It is a privilege and a honor to be in a room with so many dignitaries and beautiful people from so many parts of Queens and New York and so many different things we do. We are here today to honor Cathy. I have published hundreds and hundreds of her articles in the Queens Gazette, weekend and week out. I can say Cathy is the closest thing to a work of art. She is always looked at, examined, sometimes controversial. Sometimes! But always gets your attention. She connects to people, that is the success story behind her writing. It has been a wonderful experience to work with her. Her writing as myriad and as varied as going across countries, continents, oceans, seas, worlds, restaurants, churches, everything and anything. She has always been giving everything she has ever written her best, because she is the best. Thank you for being with us all these years.”
President Vasiliki Filiotis of Hellenic Paideia of America who represented Stella Kokolis, President of the Federation of Greek American Educators congratulated the honoree for her unselfish donation of all Greek language and Greek culture projects. . Dr. John and Emily Antonopoulos, said “Catherine Tsounis is worthy of the honor she is receiving today. Her contribution to various community issues, especially in regard to education topics, is exceptional. She works without expecting personal gain, showing her unselfish character. We wish Ms. Tunis continuous success in her community service and journalism.”
“We did this for Prof. Tsounis-Siolas and through her to all the Greek Teachers. It does take a team and collective effort to succeed,” said Mr. Paul Kotrotsios, Founder & President
of The Hellenic News of America and Immediate Past President of the Hellenic American National Council. The meeting-Luncheon-Presentation was superb! Kudos to Katerina Tsounis-Siolas. She deserves the best, because she is the best! Thank you, President Demosthenes Triantafillou of the Greek Teachers Association ‘Prometheus’ for taking and materializing my initiative: to do something for the Greek teachers and honor Prof. Tsounis-Siolas. Dr. Panayiotis Baltatzis, the Secretary General of the Hellenic American National Council attended the event.
Mr. Kotrotsios said “The Hellenic News of America Awards Committee (HNA) and Hellenic American National Council (HANC) honors Prof. Catherine Tsounis, Journalist/Writer/Educator of the Greek language and culture for documenting the history of the Greek Diaspora in America. Thank you for all you do for the younger generations, the future of America. She is awarded ‘The Educator of the Year Award’ that will be presented on November 12, 2017 at the 30th Anniversary of the Hellenic News of America at the Merion in Cinnaminson, New Jersey and the September 24th Prometheus Luncheon at the Anagenesis Epirus Cultural Museum, Astoria, N.Y. by myself and Secretary General Dr. Panayiotis Baltatzis who represent HANC, Drs. Spiros and Emily Spireas Chairpersons of Sigmapharm Laboratories and HANC President Bill Mataragas. All interested in attending the 30th Anniversary of the Hellenic News of America can email https://hellenicnews.com/events/30-years-anniversary/#tickets.
Publisher Paul Kotrotsios accomplished a remarkable fundraising effort for the event. Prometheus President Prof. Demosthenes Triantafillou spent five months and sleepless nights to produce a flawless testimonial event. The September 24th, 2017 Testimonial for Catherine Tsounis Siolas and the Fortieth Anniversary Luncheon held on February 28th, 2016 at Terrace on the Park, are the highlights of Prof. Triantafillou’s legacy as President of the Greek Teacher’s Association Prometheus. He mobilized community leaders, educators and parents from Astoria, New York and New Jersey to attend in a packed hall. Comments from the audience were: “what an incredible event!”; “over fifteen awards given” and “you could have heard a pin drop through the entire event.” Prof. Alexander Colombos, Secretary General and Technology Director and the Board of the Greek Teachers Association ‘Prometheus’ said “You inspired us all Prof. Tsounis! You deserved that event and we were all united to make sure we don’t let you down. Physical therapist Kosta Koutsoubis said we thank Prof Tsounis “for her superior efforts. She provides a pillar of strength towards the Hellenic language, encouraging Hellenic history. She is catapulting our youth into a Brighter future.” Both Prof. Colombos and PT Koutsoubis are from villages in Chios that faces the honoree’s lost homeland of Tseme, Asia Minor. For more online information on Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus”,visit http://www.greekteachersprometheus.org/.
The Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” Board and members include: Very Rev. Demetrios Louras, St. Demetrios Cathedral, Astoria, Prayer; Executive Board, Demosthenes Triantafillou, President, Apostolos Fountas, Vice President, Alexandros Colombos, Secretary General & Director of Technology, Dr. John G. Siolas, treasurer; Board members, George Kanellopoulos, Timoleon Kokkinos, Sofia Kostaras, Meropi Kyriacou and George Melikokis; Alternate members, Cathy Koutsoupaki, Emmanuela Christodoulou, Vaia Tjionas; Advisory Board, Maria Makedon, Dr. John Antonopoulos; Auditing Committee, Spyros Koutsoupakis, Georgia Papadopoulou and Parent Liaison, PT Kosta Koutsoubis.