New York.- By Vicki James Yiannias
Helping exceptional Greek American students become future leaders of the Greek American community and of the world at large is the goal of the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, which since its inception twenty years ago has awarded more than $1.7 million dollars of educational support to more than 700 students. At the 18th Annual Hellenic Times Scholarship Gala last year 34 recipients were awarded approximately $100,000 in scholarships for their extensive academic achievements and approximately 1500 people attended the Gala.
It’s pure and simple: the sole fundraiser for the HTSF is the Annual Gala, one of the most glamorous parties of the year. The funds from the purchase of tables by members of the community and corporations, the Gala journal, the Gala raffle, and donations, go directly to the HTSF scholarships (with only 6 cents out of every dollar going toward operating expenses).
Tickets are on sale now for the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund 19th Annual Gala, to take place on May 8, 2010 at Manhattan’s Marriott Marquis hotel.
Expanding on the concept of support for exceptional students, this will be the first year that scholarships will be awarded to students from various New York City Greek grammar schools and high schools, Nick Katsoris, General Counsel of the Red Apple Group, and President of the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund told the Greek News. “We are also awarding 4 scholarships to these students to show our support to parents who send their kids to these wonderful schools to continue the Greek culture and education in their kids.”
And what’s on the musical menu on May 8, 2010? The legendary Shirelles will perform a Greek American Bandstand concert hosted by FOX-5’s Ernie Anastos, who is also one of the scholarship presenters.
“This year’s Gala line-up is particularly exciting as the theme is the 1950’s and 1960’s…. don’t be surprised if you see Elvis walking around!” says Nick Katsoris, noting that music from this era will be played during the cocktail hour even. “The HTSF is pleased to welcome Greek singing sensation Katy Garbi and the legendary group “The Shirelles”.
Garbi, whose hits include “Esena Mono”, “Katapliktiko”, “Hamena”, “Akouse Agori Mou”, and “Tha Melacholiso”, has been one of Greece’s most successful artists over the last two decades, while Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, The Shirelles, are best known for their hits “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “Mama Said,” and “Soldier Boy.”
The Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund honorees will be business leader James Orphanides (Partner Centurion Holdings LLC and Chairman Emeritus of First American Title Insurance Co. of NY) and George Eads, star of the hit CBS drama, “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”.
As well as Ernie Anastos, scholarship presenters will include CBS News anchor Alexis Christoforous, “Guiding Light” star Frank Dicopoulos, Fox-5 meteorologist Nick Gregory, “CSI:NY” star Melina Kanakaredes, “Iron Chef” Cat Cora, “Dancing with the Stars’” Gilles Marini, “American Idol’s” Constantine Maroulis, and Judge Nicholas Tsoucalas. Over 1200 people are expected to attend as the HTSF awards scholarships to Greek-American students from across the country.
John and Margo Catsimatidis, humanitarians and business leaders, General Chairs and founders of The Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund, describe their philanthropic effort as
having two different aspects: its impact on the life of each scholarship recipient and the social significance of their efforts. ”If we can make a difference in just one of the student’s lives, for the rest of their lives, that they, in turn, help other students…. but hopefully we do a lot more than that,” said Mrs. Catsimatidis at last year’s Gala, and for Mr. Catsimatidis, Chairman if the Red Apple Group, the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund is also a way to “give back to our community….Greek Americans are Americans who do a lot in the American world, but we should not forget our heritage, in giving back to our own people a little bit,” he said.
Following up on this point Katsoris told the Greek News that a network is created between the members of the HTSF and the recipients, offering a way to assist the recipients throughout their careers with jobs and advice. “We are proud to say that we there are more than 20 past scholarship recipients currently on our committee because they want to give back to the community. It means the world to us to see these kids come back to assist us.”
Katsoris brings up another significant aspect of the Gala: that while the money they are awarded is of utmost importance for the scholarship recipients, the benefits of the Gala go beyond the checks they receive. “By recognizing these kids at our Gala, we endeavor to provide a once-in-a-lifetime evening for them that they will remember throughout their careers. For many of them, this is the is the first black tie affair of their young lives, and we celebrate them and their accomplishments before a crowd of 1200 people. This means the world to them and provides them with the encouragement to continue to do well.” He notes that next year, the 20th anniversary of the HTSF, the 20th Annual HTSF Gala on May 14, 2011, will be a landmark gathering of all past Gala honorees and scholarship recipients.
Order tickets at WWW.HTSF.ORG
Join the Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund at www.facebook.com