Nikos Andriotis, ex-president of Saint Demetrios high school in Astoria, talked to AMNA about the only Greek high school in America, located in Saint Demetrios, and about the Greek language.
The school was started and completed during the presidency of Andriotis and thanks to his persistence, an extension of the building with modern infrastructure was achieved. Its purpose is the teaching of the Greek language, Greek history and cultural heritage.
Andriotis mentioned the difficulties establishing the high school, the New York State regulations about foreign languages, the increase of the number of students from Greece due to the economic crisis, and how its community gave a solution to the problem of detached teachers of the Ministry of Education.
The effort to create the high school began in 1976. “We met several reactions, within and outside the community, but we tried to convince with arguments. When the 12th grade came into operation, thirteen people were enrolled to attend the school year 1978-1979,” Andriotis continued, stressing that “the operation of high school classes with the program teaching wasn’t as difficult as the acquisition of the facilities and the construction of the building that would meet the requirements and specifications of a high school that would stay, grow and expand in the future.
The ex-president made reference to the economic problems they had to face, while when he became president the community fund was zero. However, they managed to establish the school in 1980 and inaugurate it in 1982. That small period of time, was considered a record. Today, the schools of Saint Demetrios have 82 teachers and 17 people that make up the rest of the staff.
Andriotis comes from the village Nikia of the Greek island of Nissyros and immigrated in 1956, at a young age. He served in several organizations of the Diaspora, and worked in various professional branches. This year he completed forty years as a member of the community of Saint Demetrios Cathedral in Astoria, in which he is currently chairman of the school committee.