By NICOLE VOURNAZOS, HG 2010
This year, I am excited to announce that we have launched a peer-to-peer mentoring program for the Heritage Greece (HG) students. The goal of the program is to create assets within the HG community. Every first Sunday of the month, HG alumni “mentors” have 30-minute Google hangouts (video chats) with other HG alumni. Mentors offer open office hours to discuss topics such as class schedules, resumes, and the internship and full-time recruiting process.
Potential questions include:
Mentors range from pediatric residents to investment bankers to MBA/MPH students. HG students can participate in as many open office hours as they would like.
A big thank you to our mentors for volunteering their time. We hope to continue expanding the program by adding mentors across a broader spectrum of industries.
BY NICHOLAS AMOROSO, HG 2012
One of our ongoing initiatives is the Frank S. Kamberos Oral History Project with the National Hellenic Museum (NHM) in Chicago (available here). For those that are not familiar with the Oral History Project, it is an initiative created by the NHM with the purpose of preserving the history of Greek Americans by collecting the recorded interviews and memoirs of individuals and/or groups. Persons of Greek descent, the spouses, or relatives of Greeks are all invited to tell their story.
Over last fall’s Heritage Weekend in Las Vegas, we were able to capture four interviews with members of the NHS and have collected six interviews to date. We currently have four sets of recording equipment with one set located in each of the following locations: east coast, mid-west, and west coast. We are seeking out individuals interested in conducting oral histories.
If you are interested in conducting an interview or would like more information, you can contact Nick Amoroso or Laura Calamos. More information about the Frank S. Oral History Project can be found on the NHM website.
BY MARINA STELMACK, HG 2016
Since I was a little girl, I have assisted my γιαγιά and παπού with their acquisition of the English language, while they simultaneously taught me how to read, write, and speak in Greek. As my grandparents learned English, and while I learned Greek, I not only witnessed our successes, but I also noticed our linguistic struggles. Our struggles, especially, elicited a spark and calling within me to help others learn English.
A month before I left for Heritage Greece, I was afforded the opportunity to do classroom observations at the Hazleton Area Middle School in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. In recent years, big corporations, such as Amazon, have opened warehouses in Hazleton, which has caused many job-seekers of different racial and ethnic backgrounds to move into the area. Prior to this, Hazleton was not a place of great diversity; however, today the Hazleton Area School District documents over 1,500 English language learners, also known as ELLs.
I was beyond excited when I found out that I would be observing in both seventh and eighth grade classrooms during my two weeks in Hazleton. Because I am an English Education major with an ESL Certificate, I was able to observe in both literature classes and in ESL (English as a Second Language) classrooms.
BY NICOLE VOURNAZOS, HG 2010
I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we have all seen each other! As I scan the crowd, I see lots of familiar faces. It seems like it was yesterday when we were all in Greece together: Cynthia was laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Alexa was helping me practice my Greek, and Noël and I were exploring the beach. Now, here we are seven years later.
There are many new friends in the crowd as well: friends from past year’s reunions. These are my new parea! These are the parea I have met through listening to speakers talk about our proud history of Greece or through working on the oral history project for the National Hellenic Museum. And it doesn’t matter that we only just met, as I get overwhelmed with questions: how are your brothers? How is California? And, perhaps my favorite, when are you coming over for dinner?
These are the exceptional friends I have met and bonded with through each year’s reunion. This year was no exception.In this year’s activity, we were split into teams and tasked with building the largest statute out of spaghetti (no easy feat!). If someone looked at us from afar, they’d think we had grown up with each other and known each other for years (which I can now proudly say that some of us have). Another reunion goes by and our friendships continue to grow!
With this in mind, I want to share our renewed mission: “We are the Heritage Greece Alumni Network, a distinguished association of young Greek American students and graduates that participated in the NHS Heritage Greece Program. We serve as ambassadors of Hellenic heritage by supporting the expansion of Heritage Greece and other programs that promote Hellenism and create rewarding opportunities for HG Alumni. Tobe part of the HG Alumni is to be part of the NHS family...”