CHERRY HILL, NJ – [Story-Photos: Steve Lambrou]
The Saint Thomas Hellenic School Parent Teacher Organization held its largest fundraiser of the year on February 10. The “Danielle Kousoulis” Cultural Center was filled to capacity with Greek School students, their parents, siblings, pappouthes and yiayiathes [grandparents], aunts, uncles, cousins and Greek School alumni and supporters. The room was beautifully adorned with glowing centerpieces, masquerade themed decorations, and a projected slide show of pictures of the graduating Hellenic School students over the years.
The evening commenced with the blessing by the parish presiding Priest, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Avgoustinos Psomas with meaningful words thanking all those who worked hard to put the evening together as well as all the students and their families who make the necessary sacrifices to bring the students to school so that we can maintain and perpetuate our Hellenic identify and most importantly our Greek Orthodox faith.
Remarks were offered from the PTO President, Athena Poulathas, the School’s principal, Margarita Vrettos, and the Parish Council President, Archon Tasos Efstratiades. Each of them congratulated the students and offered words of encouragement. Each Greek School class then performed a Greek Dance from separate regions of Greece under the instruction of the Hellenic School dance teacher, George Kleftogiannis. The highlight of the dance performances was the graduating class’s performance of the Zorba the Greek Syrtaki. Then the graduating class also performed their special dance tricks during the Hasaposerviko portion of the dance. All in attendance clapped along with students during their dance performances and were truly so impressed that from the youngest grade to the oldest, the students performed their choreographed feats so well and to the beat!
Guests enjoyed sumptuous Greek cold and hot “pikilia” appetizers, salad, multiple dinner selections and dessert by Adelphia’s Catering, proudly owned and operated by Saint Thomas longstanding benefactors, the Balis Family. Together with the great meal and performances by the Hellenic School students, everyone had wonderful kefi and danced the night away with Greek music by Sergiani Band and DJ Maki.
Another great highlight for the students was the announcement of the raffle winners, with prizes ranging from Eagles gear, Lululemon favorites, American Girl Dolls, electric scooters, Lego lovers basket and a 50/50 raffle. The ultimate reward for the school, parents and families was the continuous smiling faces of the all the children who had a wonderful evening and hand in hand danced together creating Greek bonds and memories that will last them a lifetime.
The Hellenic School PTO expressed its gratitude to the students, the Hellenic School staff, our amazing spiritual Father, Father, Avgoustinos, Mr. Stellio Lambrou, photo reporter, who covers all of their events, and all the parents and supporters who put forward time, effort and funds to make the evening a record-breaking fundraiser and a truly memorable and enjoyable event.