Translated from the original Greek
NEW YORK – It was a moving ceremony rich with messages. Forty-eight 8th grade students of the William Spyropoulos Greek American School, the day school of St. Nicholas in Flushing, bade farewell to the school and community that was their second home for nine years on June 12 and spread their wings in pursuit of new horizons.
Their parents, teachers and leaders of their community urged to never forget their alma mata, and Pastor Fr. Paul Palesty, who presided over the graduation, told the students, “We pray for you and the doors of the church and the community will be open not only in difficult times but also to celebrate your achievements,” he added.
PTA president Maria Sakalis, Assistant Principal Mary Tzallas, Elaine Mallios, and PC President Andreas Tsiolas expressed their love and congratulated, and offered their best wishes.
Theodota Kontopoulou (2011) presented the Alumni Exhortation and urged the graduates to be open and tolerant with each culture they encounter at their future schools and throughout their life and work hard to achieve their goals.
Attorney Christopher Stratakis, the keynote speaker told them that their grandparents are proud of their achievements and love them unconditionally.
After advising them that each day is unique and that they must set ambitious goals for each day, he reminded them that they are the ambassadors of their families and the community and urged them that whatever they do in their lives, they should do it with pride.
Valedictorian Vasiliki Lazarides, speaking on behalf of the graduates, welcomed the parents and invited guests and thanked them for “the opportunity to be nurtured with the best principles and virtues of our nation, as well as values that are timeless and universal.
Michael Pierides, the salutatorian, reminisced about the days and moving moments he and his classmates experienced at the school and the parish that has thrived for six decades.
Athena Kromidas, the principle, told her beloved students, “It is with mixed feelings that I greet you today. Joy and sadness together. Joy for you have victoriously completed your first academic marathon. Sadness, so in a short time you won’t be with us as students…Nine years! How fast they passed by!”
“Your teachers,” she continued, prepared you to become valuable members of society…you tasted the majesty of the Orthodox faith, walked through the path of our world’s civilizations…you studied the heroic pages of Greek literature and history.”
Kromidas spoke of the “lifetime, unbreakable bonds of friendship and brotherhood,” they established, and said, “We want you to remember that each and every one of you has a very special place in our heart. Remember we will be happy to see you and hear about your accomplishments,” before concluding: “Keep your Hellenic ideals in your heart as you very precious keepsake. May our Panagia protect you forever and guide your steps in life.”
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