Spelling Bee winner Panagiotis Persianis with Archbishop Demetrios, Maria Makedon, director of the Archdiocese Office of Education, Cathedral School Principal Ted Kusulas, teacher Juliane Fazzone and his mother Theano.

The 42nd annual Direct Archdiocesan District Spelling Bee Finals for students of the district’s parochial day schools took place Jan. 8 at Archdiocese headquarters with seven students participating.

Panagiotis Persianis, an 8th-grade student of the Holy Trinity Cathedral School (319 East 74 Street, NYC) was the finalist, while Anastasia Michialis, a 6th grader at the Greek American Institute (3573 Bruckner Blvd., Bronx) was the runner–up.

The winning word was “patriarch.”

The other contestants, their grade level, and schools were: Hannah Erickson, 5th grade, St. Spyridon School, Manhattan; James Ballas, 7th grade, D.G.K. School of Holy Cross, Brooklyn; Theodora Athanitis, 8th grade, “A. Fantis” School, Brooklyn; Steve Koullias, 8th grade, “W. Spyropoulos” School, Flushing, and Nicoletta Baltzis, 5th grade, St. Demetrios School, Astoria.

Following the competition, Archbishop Demetrios presented each student with a certificate of award and a silver cross. Nick Katsoris, president of The Hellenic Times Scholarship Fund (HTSF) that sponsors the Archdiocesan competition, and author the Loukoumi book series for young children, offered each school bee one copy of the latest Loukoumi publication and $100 and $500 to the finalist.

In addition to Mr. Katsoris’ gifts, the students received American Express gift cards on behalf of the Direct Archdiocesan District as follows: $100 to each participant and $200 for the winner. Students also received gift cards from AMAZON on behalf of the District Office of Education as follows: $75 to each student and $100 for the winner.

Archbishop Demetrios presented them with his book of prayers and a silver cross.

The Spelling Bee competitions are sponsored by The E.W. Scripps Company, in conjunction with over 260 newspapers around the world. The competitions aim at improving spelling, increase vocabulary, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage. They are open to boys and girls, in grades 5-8.

In New York City, competitions are sponsored by the DAILY NEWS newspaper for the public and nonpublic schools.

The Office of Education of the Direct Archdiocesan District coordinates the competitions among the New York City parochial Greek-American day schools. The winner and the runner-up Anastasia Michialis will move on to the New York City Finals that will take place sometime.

Spelling Bee participants with their parents and teachers along with the pronouncers Helen Zapantis, teacher, and John Atanas, English language teacher at the Greek American Institute in the Bronx.

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