14th Annual Athanasiades Foundation Awards a Success

by Catherine Tsounis

"What the mind and the heart is for a human being, Greece is for humanity," said Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe. This was the theme of the 14th Athanasiades Cultural Foundation Annual Awards, on Sunday afternoon, November 26th at the Center on 30-96 42 St. Astoria, NY. Over one hundred persons attended. A refreshment hour followed hosted by Zenon Restaurant catering services.

The program opened with greetings from prominent persons including: Christos G. Tzelios, The Athanasiades Cultural Foundation, Inc.; John G. Siolas, Ph.D., professor/writer; Demetrios Dais, Ph.D., professor/writer; H.V. Vasiliades, Ph.D., professor/engineer; Sevasti Boutos, Poetess and IT specialist, Columbia University and Costas Athanasiades, writer/benefactor.

Chris Tzelios thanking all who made
the event a success

The Athanasiades scholarships are unique. They are based solely on the academic record of each student. Economic background and community service are not criteria. One's hard work in achieving a high G.P.A. is the deciding factor. The 2006 award winners are the following college students: Elona Papa, Economics, University of Tirana; Vasiliki Papanikolaw, Health Science, Quinnipiac University, CT.; Panagiotis Kouloumbinis, Chemistry, Queens College; Krista Koca, English Literature, University of Argyrocastro; Maria Kassaras, History, Queens College; Eleni Liakaris, English, St. John's University; Eleni Sakkos, Accounting, St. John's University; Chryssa Golding, History, Adelphi University; Haritomeni Scoufaras, undeclared, St. John's University; Erjon Zoto, Information Technology, University of Tirana; Anna Kouremenos, Anthropology, Hunter College; Petros Katsioloudis, Technology Education, NC State University; Maria Zoto, Medical Sciences, University of Tirana; Kally Vasilopoulos, English, Queens College; Marcos Papadatos, Political Sciences, Queens College; Theodore Banakos, Liberal Arts, Queensboro Community College; Maria Mitides, Psychology, St. John's University; Anastasia Christoforidis, Broadcast Journalism, Hofstra University; George Valiotis, Civil Engineering, Northeastern University; Maria Kouloumbinis, Nursing, St. Vincent's Catholic Medical Center; Vivian Tsaklanganos, Philosophy, CUNY Stony Brook, Amelia J. Mendizabal, Political Science, College of Staten Island and Keily Abreu, Biology, St. John's University.

"We all should work towards a program to perpetuate Modern Greek," said benefactor Kostas Athanasiades, who received a standing ovation. "Learn basics. We will be great. Greek is the language of thoughts." Dr. Siolas added, "The Athanasiades Foundation gives scholarships to all overseas and in the U.S.A."

"We must form an Alumnus Association," said Dr. Demetrios Dais. "Kostas and Maria Athanasiades are a unique couple. Mr. Athanasiades has written forty books on Hellenism. Persons make donations for Greek letters, supposedly for free education. Nothing materializes. The best persons are the Athanasiades who make things happen and are not hot air. There is a saying, 'there is not bad soil, but an evil farmer.' We must move forward with ambition, labor, focus and not whom one knows. Glory comes from work, not money." Dr. Vasiliades believes one "should read Mr. Athanasiades' books and understand his philosophy."

Mr. Costas Athanasiades addressing the audience, as his
Board of Directors listen.

The college students who were honored were enthusiastic about their studies. "I enjoy sharing the Greek language with my students at the Doulaveris Preschool Program," said scholar Eleni Liakaris. "I am from Warren, Ohio from Chian background. I enjoy furthering my education in Greek at St. John's University." St. John's student Haritomeni Scoufaris said, "studying Greek will help me prepare for graduate studies." Eleni Sakkos, an accounting major, believes "Greek makes me a well rounded person." Ekaterini Georgiades comes from a third generation Greek-American family in Astoria and remembers her Greek roots. Marcos Papadatos of Queens College said "I plan to integrate my knowledge of Greek in my career as an educator." Erasmia and Theodore Banakos of Queens College plan to use their Greek fundamentals in pursuing a medical career. Maria Middies, a graduating St. John's Psychology student said "this is an honor that I will remember in my future career." The surprise of the evening was the unique honor bestowed on Kelly Area, a St. John's student from the Dominican Republic, who has completed one and a half years of Greek language instruction. He addressed the audience in Greek saying he "plans to go to Greece the summer of 2007."

Costas Athanasiades is a brilliant journalist, philologist, author and contemporary voice of Hellenism in the United States. Mr. Athanasiades and his wife, Maria, created the foundation eleven years ago. Students with 3.5 and higher G.P.A.'s are awarded generous scholarships. Many scholarship winners are successful in their respective professions.

The Veterans of the Foreign Wars of the United States honored the journalist in 2004 for his "faithful support of America's deserving veterans and their families." The organization stated in the citation that "patriotic Americans like you, Mr. Athanasiades, ensure that our nation remains 'the land of the free and the home of the brave' for generation to come." The benefactor was inducted as a member of the National Library of Congress. The Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney honored the author in the March 2001 Congressional Record.

Costas Athanasiades was born in Kalavasos, Cyprus on March 3, 1921. He studied in Italy and acquired a degree as an agriculturalist. He served valiantly with British Commander Montgomery's Cypriot troops during W.W. II. He immigrated to the United States in 1959. Mr. Athanasiades purchased the Campana newspaper in 1961. He has authored more than a dozen books over the years. He has been cited for his insights and contributions by prestigious institutions, including the National Library of Congress and the United Nations.

"I have been honored by George Bush twice and Ronald Reagan," said Costas Athanasiades, who published the newspaper The Kampana for over forty years. "Our Foundation gives scholarships with the hope that others will follow our example. One hundred universities have honored me with their presidents giving me the highest honors. What ever we do, we do without publicity. From the Day I came to America, I do everything from the heart for my adopted country." The Athanasiades Foundation's philosophy is epitomized in Percy Bysshe Shelley's quotation: "We are all Greeks. Our laws, our literature, our religion, our arts have their roots in Greece."

Pictured are Athanasiades' scholarship recipients: (top row, left to right) Eleni Liakaris, Maria Kassaras, Haroula Scoufaras, Maria Mitides, Markos Papadatos; (bottom row, left to right) Kelly Abreu, Ekaterini Georgiadis, and Eleni Liakaris with her family (at left with Mrs. Liakaris, center, and Stella Kontolios, right). Edd: Photo of Maria Mitides removed at subject's request on 10 July 2013. It originally appeared in top row between images of Haroula Scoufaras and Markos Papadatos.

(Posting date 08 December 2006. Updated 10 July 2013.

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