PORT JEFFERSON, NY – AHEPA’s Port Jefferson Chapter 319 presented the winner of The Journey of Greek and Cypriot-American Immigrants Competition with the grand prize of $1,000 during a virtual ceremony on June 1.
George Kallas of AHEPA Chapter 319 and Professor Stella Tsirka of Stony Brook University partnered to create a scholarship competition targeted for students of the Center for Hellenic Studies. The theme of the essay competition was developed by Professor Tsirka and focused on documenting the experiences and history of people of Greek and Cypriot descent who immigrated to the United States.
Each participant interviewed five elderly/older Greek residents and documented how they were received and blended into the American culture, learned the language, and became established in the community as citizens of the United States. Correlations were encouraged to be drawn to the current immigration environment. Access to elderly Greek and Cypriot residents was facilitated by AHEPA.
John Tsunis, AHEPA Chapter 319, who personally donated the $1,000 for the scholarship, presented Electra Dovas, the winner of the scholarship competition, with the award. Dovas, who completed her sophomore year at Stony Brook University, was thrilled, not only to have won the competition, but also to have had the opportunity to experience interviewing the elderly Greek immigrants, including members of her family, and learning about their experiences coming to the United States.
Participating in the virtual ceremony were AHEPA members John Tsunis, George Kallas, and Mike Kontonicolas, Stony Brook University Faculty Members Professor Stella Tsirka, Nikos Panou, and Maria Athanasopoulou, and students Maria Karamitas and Electra Dovas.
AHEPA and the Stony Brook University Center for Hellenic Studies intend to keep this scholarship going year after year, and Professor Tsirka plans to build a volume of the essays, capturing the extraordinary experiences of the immigrants, along with their feelings, comments, and messages. The faculty members that reviewed the essays were moved by the stories they read, and noted how there was a common theme to all them that included sacrifice, determination, nostalgia, and a fierce love for their mother country of Greece.
AHEPA is very proud to have had the opportunity to make this scholarship available to the students of SBU’s Center for Hellenic Studies and will continue to do so as part of its mission of philanthropy, education, and promoting and preserving the Hellenic identity of Greek-Americans.