By: Catherine Tsounis, Contributor
Prof. Demosthenes Triantafillou was honored as “Educator of the Year” in 2018 by Greek Media outlet, Kirikas. A filled room with diplomats, businessmen, educators and parents came to honor Prof. Triantafillou for his unselfish, dedicated work in Long Island City New York.
“We all came from New Jersey for Educator Demosthenes who believes in Hellenism,” said Father Christos L. Pappas, protopresbyter of the Ascension Greek Orthodox Church of Fairview, New Jersey. “He has given to our church school. We are blessed with a very advanced and accomplished Greek afternoon school with classes ranging from kindergarten through ninth grade. We would not have the school we have if it was not for him.”
Prof. Triantafillou in his acceptance speech explained “Our Ascension has a complete Junior-High Gymnasium Program with grades 7, 8 and 9.
In 2007, the School Board decided that graduation will be taking place at the end of 9thGrade. The NY State Regents Exams are recommended to be taken at the end of the 9th Grade. Students who complete the 9th Grade can also take the Ellinomathia Level I and II Exams. Our goal is to give our youngsters of our community the chance to learn advanced Greek in the upper grades! It is a privilege!” Over twenty persons attended from the Ascension Church.
Principal Triantafillou is one of the most fascinating, enthusiastic and humorous educators I ever met,” said Kosta Koutsoubis, a parent at the Greek Orthodox Church of the Saviour in Rye, New York. His communication skills with students and peers are exceptional. He is a man of humility who gives merit to persons of achievement without self-interest. This is the type of man who encourages Hellenism.”
Fanny Zicopoulos, retired educator, recalls “Principal Triantafillou built St. Demetrios High School. I was honored to be selected as one of the creators of a kindergarten book for the Greek program. At the time, in 1979, materials did not exist. We created the first book with on of Principal Demosthenes Triantafillou, ” The book is entitled “Mathaino Ellinika”( I Learn Greek): First Book for Kindergarten. It was part of a series of three books.
Prof Triantafillou’s experience as an educator includes tenures as a public school assistant principal – 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”, who attended in full force. “We have a new vision: stabling a Pedagogical Greek Teacher’s Center in a NYC university. I am committed to having the Association take the lead in establishing a pension fund for its members.”
Prof. Triantafillou has worked closely with the Hellenic News of America. He believes “The Greek American community of the United States will be celebrating a milestone in journalism history. All will join together to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the Hellenic News of America newspaper. Mr. Paul Kotrotsios has injected enthusiasm in the soul of this extraordinary newspaper.”
“We must keep Hellenism and our ethics alive,” you believe. “The business and education sectors must help us at Hellenic News of America and the annual Hermes Expo International to keep our heritage alive. We must not assimilate. Today, more than ever, we need to work more intensively towards the perpetuation of our traditions.”
”On behalf of the Board of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” allow me to state that I very rarely meet heroic personalities dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the Greek Language and Culture like your dynamic and committed personality. You have become a legend in the Greek American Community! The above is an understatement of your heroic leadership and assistance in making the honorary Luncheon for Prof. Catherine Tsounis Siolas such an enormous success on Sunday, September 24, 2017!
We thank you for all your financial support and enthusiastic participation. We have received your $ 500.00 of the Hellenic News of America, as well as, the $ 500.00 for the Hellenic Paideia of America Association. Moreover, we express our gratitude for the participation of the Hellenic American National Council and for its contribution of $ 1,000.00. The collective effort and mutual support wrote another golden page in the Annals of the history of Greek Education in New York City and the USA. The Board of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” appreciates your support and is looking forward to more activities of such a meaningful mission!”
The evening can be summarized by the 4th century B.C. orator Demosthenes who said, “Small opportunities are often the beginning of great enterprise.”