The Postscript reports that senior Niko Argeroplos has donated $6,000 he has earned working summer jobs to fund a scholarship program aimed at bringing Greek-Americans to Park. Read excerpts from the story by Julia Gross ’14 below or the full story by clicking here.
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by Julia Gross ’14
The Postscript, May 3, 2013
It’s no secret that Park values diversity. But in two years, Niko Argeroplos’13 plans to bring a whole new type of diversity to the school. This year, Argeroplos has established a scholarship fund to create a larger Greek-American community in Upper School.
The scholarship is one of a series of ideas put into place to bring awareness of Greek culture to the school. Argeroplos began by forming a Greek Culture club and the Hellenic speaker series, neither of which enjoyed widespread success.
“I realized that while I was promoting this, my cousin Jeff Jordan and I are the only two Greek kids here,” Argeroplos said. “Being Greek is a big part our lives and our culture, and our lives outside of school. A lot of other schools have large Greek populations but we never really got that here,” he said.
[Niko’s mother, Demetra Argeroplos, offered her insights into the school and the point of view of the Greek community.] “Park shows the kids a whole new way to look at things, and shows them a different side of life that we cannot show them.”
Niko then decided to take the money he had been earning working summer jobs, and fund a scholarship to help bring Greek-Americans to Park. “I decided to take it into my own hands,” he said. “I’m not going to be able to enjoy it, but I set up this scholarship that I’m leaving for a Greek Orthodox kid to come to Park,” he said. The next step in establishing the scholarship was getting in contact with the Development Office.
After receiving a check in January for $6,000, along with a note explaining the purpose of the money, Development Director Roger Seidenman was “overwhelmed by the generosity of one of Park’s students,” he said. “So at that point I started to follow up with Niko,” Seidenman said. “We have a ton of financial assistance funds, but we have never gotten anything like this from a current student.”
Seidenman then worked with Argeroplos to set up a scholarship fund with the help of Director of Financial Assistance and Enrollment Management Mennette San-Lee, and Communications Director Peter Hilsee.
The scholarship will be offered to Upper School-aged students who are active members of the Greek Orthodox community. According to San-Lee, her office is still in the early stages of the process working out details of assistance to be awarded.
“We have just had the beginning conversation about it,” said San-Lee. “The hope is that it will start to generate interest amongst students who participate in the Greek Orthodox community, and that as the fund grows with time, it would benefit additional students going forward. “Initially, it would be one student, an incoming ninth grader for four years, and then perhaps by the time that student graduates there would be enough money for two students,” she said.
Argeroplos plans to continue to support the scholarship after he graduates, so that more than one Greek student will be able to attend the school. Moving forward, Argeroplos’s goal is that the scholarship will encourage other minority students to raise awareness as well. “I hope this sparks something at Park where kids who see problems in the community don’t just go and do an assembly about it and whine about the issue,” he said. “I want kids to see that the only way things change is if you change them.”
“Park is not known as a traditional, conservative school so they do not even give it a chance in most cases,” Demetra said. “However, Niko wants to change that. He feels if he could get the word out about how wonderful his education has been for him, other Greek parents and students would reconsider and look at Park.”
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