By: Catherine Tsounis
The Fortieth Anniversary Luncheon of the Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” was held on Sunday, February 28th, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Terrace on the Park, Flushing, N.Y. His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America, Mr. Stephen Cherpelis, Archon Dikaiophylax of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Dr. Theodosis Pelegrinis, Deputy Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs of Greece with staff member George Krikis, Mr. Vasilis Philippou Consul-General of the Republic of Cyprus, Dr. Thalia Chatziagiannoglou, Head of the Office for Educational Affairs of the New York Consulate General of Greece and prominent persons from the education and business communities attended. Over two hundred and seventy persons attended. Educators, parents and members of the tristate area day and afternoon schools of the Greek Archdiocese showed their support for their teachers.
The program’s format was as follows: Welcome by Master of Ceremonies Dr. George Melikokis; Mrs. Maria Makedon, Director of the Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America was honored by a certificate fromMichael Giannaris, NY State Senator of District 12, Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” and the Department of Education of Greece; Presentation by Mrs. Athena Tsokou-Kromidas, Principal of William Spyropoulos Greek American Day School, Flushing, New York; Greetings by Demosthenes Triantafillou, President of the Greek Association “Prometheus”; Address by Dr. Theodosis Pelegrinis, Deputy Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs of Greece; Acknowledgement of the Presidents of Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” with honors were from Michael Giannaris, NY State Senator of District 12, Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” and the Department of Education of Greece; Musical melodies were by Grigoris Maninakis and soprano Olga Xanthopoulou; Greek Afternoon School of the Ascension Greek Orthodox Church of Fairview, New Jersey sang melodies of Hadzidakis and Theodorakis, and a Commemorative speech in honor of the educators of the Department of Education by His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios of America.
The presidents of “Prometheus” who were recognized for their distinguished service included: Konstantinos Parthenis, Founder, 1975-1976, 1977-1979, 1992-1994; Elias Diakolios, 1976-1977; John Markopoulos, 1979-1981; Dr. John Siolas, 1981-1983, 1988-1990; Timoleon Kokkinos, 1983-1985; John Takas, 1985-1986; Athena Kromidas, 1986-1988, 1990-1992; George Kanellopoulos, 1994-1996; Dr. Andreas Zachariou, 1996-1998, whose award was accepted by Dr. John Spiridakis, university professor/attorney; Eleni Galidis, 2000-2002; Irene Demas, 2003-2005; Stella Kokolis, 2005-2007; Apostolos Fountas, 2007-2009; Vasiliki Filiotis, 2009-20013 and Demosthenes Triantafillou, 2013-2016.
Mr. Alexandros Colombos, Educator/Author and Prometheus Secretary & Director of Technology, worked behind the scenes for one year to make this event an overwhelming success. “Mr. Colombos collaborated with the MGTV team to write a brief script of the history of Prometheus that was recited by Mr. Athanasis Giakoumelis,” explained President Triantafillou. “Educator Colombos created the first website of the history of Prometheus. The online site promotes our programs and activities.” Photography services were donated by Mrs. Stavroula Nicolas Raia, international photographer from the Kimisis Tis Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church of the Hamptons.
Principal Athena Tsokou Kromidas described Director Makedon’s “dedication and service for more than 35 years to the Greek Day and Afternoon schools of the Greek Orthodox archdiocese of America.” Educator/Administrator Makedon accepted the awards emphasizing the fact that “she did whatever she could for the children and educators.” Dr. Melikokis read a message from Mr. Michalis Kokkinos, Secretary General for Greeks Abroad, who said “congratulations to the honorees. We extend our best wishes on your unique service. We invite all to visit Greece this summer.”
Mr. Stephen Cherpelis, Dikaiophylax Archon (Defender of the Faith) of the Greek Orthodox Church and founder of the Stephen and Areti Cherpelis Greek afternoon School of St. Nicholas Church, Flushing, New York, donated one thousand dollars to Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus”.
“The theme of the celebration was a better future for the Greek educators in America,” emphasized President Triantafillou. “We have a new vision: stabling a Pedagogical Greek Teacher’s Center in a NYC university. This would complement the program of Distance Learning that the Greek Ministry of Education has initiated. His Eminence, Archbishop Demetrios and Minister of Education Pelegrinis emphasized the Greek-American community must become more autonomous with its education programs. The Omogenia (Community) must produce its own teachers. Greece has an economic crisis. The Greek nation cannot afford to send teacher every year paid by their economy.” My opinion: The Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies Program must adapt their curriculum and work with His Eminence, Minister Pelegrinis and Prometheus President Triantafillou We need to create Greek-American educators who will perpetuate Greek learning from pre-k to 12th grade.
“We would like to thank you for your support the Luncheon and the Commemorative Journal,” said President Triantafillou. “This was your opportunity to show your appreciation for the noble educational work of our Greek Teachers teaching the Greek Language and Culture to thousands of Greek students in hundreds of Greek Schools.” The Board members and Committees responsible for the achievement of this unique 40th Anniversary Luncheon included: Executive Board, Demosthenes Triantafillou, President, Eleftheria Ikouta, Vice President, Alexandros Colombos, Secretary/director of Technology, Dr. John G. Siolas, Treasurer; Board Members, Vasiliki Filiotis, George Kanellopoulos, Timoleon Kokkinos, Stella Kokolis, Helen Pylarinou; Alternate members Emily Antonopoulou, Cathy Koutsoupakis; Advisory Board, Maria Makedon, Office of Education of Direct Archdiocesan District, Dr. John Antonopoulos and Auditing Committee, Apostolos Fountas and George Melikokis, Ph.D.
The Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” President Demosthenes Triantafillou stated that “we are a 501C tax-exempt non-profit organization of Greek-American Educators and a Greek-American teacher’s union. We are a Greek-American Teachers’ scholarly and academic professional association and not just a cultural association or social club. The Greek Teachers Association “Prometheus” is in the process of founding a Greek-American Teachers Retirement Fund. These are our accomplishments under my presidency.”
- https://www.mgtvusa.com/-MGTVUSA website with music, articles and videos.
- https://www.greekteachersprometheus.org/Prometheus website