Delphian Magazine Fall 2022

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FALL 2022
Cover: Ella Vogelsang ’24, Reese Moriarty ’24, Marley Ramm ’24 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL Our Mission Annunciation Orthodox School, having grown from a ministry of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral, celebrates the diverse and individual qualities of all children and their families. AOS provides a superior education in a secure and stimulating Christian environment which encourages the individual child to achieve academic, spiritual, emotional, social and physical excellence, and to become a responsible member of our society. The Delphian FALL 2022 01 02 06 08 10 12 19 22 24 26 28 32 34 From the Head of School On Target: Mission and Diversity Bible Study with Fr. Efstratios Praying for Peace The AOS Weekly Congratulations, Class of 2022! AOS Legends A Year in Review: Special Events Celebrating Agape for 50 Years End of Year Awards Alumni Spotlights Class of 2018 College Matriculation Alumni Class Notes


Dear AOS Community,

Our priority for the 2021-2022 school year was connection, a feeling that seemed unattainable just over two years ago when the world turned upside down. We committed ourselves to the full return of all AOS traditions and made every effort to experience a school year rooted in community. The success of last year was undoubtedly due to the enthusiasm and support from the AOS community: our faculty, staff, and families. Your dedication to our school and devotion to preserving tradition is unmatched.

This issue highlights renewed togetherness through our major events and programs, but it is also important to note all of the smaller moments throughout the year that reminded us to truly cherish connection. Every member of our family brought vibrancy back to AOS. It was touching to see such an outpouring of love after a period of distance and uncertainty.

All of our major events took place in person as we returned to a sense of normalcy we all desired. The Back to School Bash welcomed our families back to campus, Mrs. Nikkie cooked hundreds of pounds of delicious spaghetti for our annual Spaghetti Dinner, our Christmas programs returned to the Cathedral, we finally celebrated our 50th anniversary with friends and family, our gala surpassed all expecta tions, Grandparents & Special Friends Day saw over 1000 attendees, and we concluded the year with an unforgettable Olympics.

After rebuilding our connection to one another, we will now focus on service both inside and outside our school, lending a helping hand to anyone in need and, as always, putting agape at the forefront of our work. The 2022-2023 priority is “Serving Others Together.” Our mission states that we encourage each individual child “to become a responsible member of our society.” This year-long initiative will be just one of the many ways we ensure our students achieve this goal.

Thank you for your unwavering support through the many unforeseen challenges our world has recently endured. It is an honor and privilege to serve AOS, a community that continues to thrive through it all. I look forward to another wonderful year ahead.



Having grown tremendously since the doors opened in 1970, our community has not only increased in number, but also in the diversity of our faculty, staff, and families. Greek Orthodox Christianity continues to guide our mission and propel us forward in every effort to ensure success for our students while we also celebrate the unique backgrounds of individuals who may not practice the faith. Whether we are commemorating Orthodox Easter with the dying and cracking of red eggs, or learning about the significance of red envelopes for Lunar New Year, AOS is committed to upholding the core Orthodox Christian values upon which our school is built while shining a light on the differences that contribute to the vibrancy of our community.

Parent Education: Introduction to Orthodoxy for AOS Parents

Reaffirming our commitment to a strong faith-based community undoubtedly includes an ongoing education on our Christian values. At AOS, we regularly offer a variety of educational presentations for our parents. These are typically studentcentered with a goal of providing valuable information and helpful tools to navigate parenting. We have called on experts from our community to discuss mental health, internet safety, executive functioning, and other relevant topics. Last year, we expanded our offerings to include presentations that provided a deeper understanding of Greek Orthodoxy — a learning experience for adults that mimicked the classes being taught at the Cathedral. In December of 2021, we launched our first lesson in a series titled An Introduction to Greek Orthodoxy for AOS Parents. Each session was led by Orthodox Christian individuals who are members of the Cathedral and experts in their field. Cynthia Kostas opened our series with a presentation dedicated to the Bible and Holy Traditions. She holds a master’s degree in theological studies and is the CEO and founder of Photophoros, a ministry of the Metropolis of Denver. Greg Halvatzis presented on the history of the Orthodox Church, and for the past 30 years, he has taught Introduction to Orthodoxy classes at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral. Finally, our own religion teachers, Connie Koinis and Christina Papazis,

On Target: Strategic Imperative #1 Reaffirm our commitment to sustaining a strong and diverse school community based on the spiritual core, traditions, and culture of the Greek Orthodox Christian faith and heritage.
Annunciation Orthodox School offers students an educational experience that extends beyond academic excellence and includes the development of strong character in an Orthodox Christian environment.

presented parents with an overview of our religious courses at AOS.

This fall, we will introduce the next installment of Introduction to Orthodoxy for AOS Parents, and the previous three-part series will be accessible online as a video resource for all parents, new and returning, who wish to learn more about the faith which grounds our community.

Religion Classes & Orthodox Christian Programming

Religion classes at AOS offer a thoughtful curriculum that is matched appropriately for each grade level. Every year, students build upon their knowledge and are encouraged to implement core Christian values into their daily lives:

† Jones Center focuses on God’s love and Bible stories that illustrate the ways they can obey God and be a light for Jesus.

† Kindergarten students learn about friendships through the Golden Rule, parables on forgiveness, and how to spend time with Jesus to change their hearts.

† First grade’s theme is God’s Promises. Students enjoy lessons about the heroes of the Old Testament and how to write prayers.

† Second grade explores miracles in the New Testament and learns that nothing is impossible for God. They also follow lessons from Be the Bee, a faith-based video series.

† Third grade learns about God and His people. This includes the Ten Commandments, Jesus’ baptism, and a cross-curricular assignment with social studies class where they research an Orthodox Church in every state.

† Fourth grade’s theme is “God on Location” and they cover books of the Bible, the missionary journeys of St. Paul, and parables as they relate to modern day.

† Fifth grade’s main focus is the Old Testament where they learn about the four covenants of God, Old Testament prophecies, and geography with historical context to discuss how it influences conflicts places like Israel still face today.

† Sixth grade students learn about the Book of the Acts of the Apostles and St. Peter’s influence in spreading Christianity to ultimately establish the Church.

† Seventh grade picks up where sixth grade leaves off and focuses on the Orthodox Church and its specific practices and teachings.

Above left to right: Kindergarten students; Nikhil Khandelwal ’30 and Jaiden Patel ’23

† Eighth grade students take all they have learned and apply it to several projects and activities. For example, they complete the Matthew 25 Project which asks them to research global hunger and make a presentation that requests aid from the International Orthodox Christian Charities.

While each class is dedicated to its own topic, all students participate in other religious programming and activities such as daily prayer, weekly chapel services, Chapel Buddies, Bible Study, live Nativities, cutting of the Vasilopita, cracking of red eggs for Easter, and other Greek Orthodox traditions.

Celebrating Diversity on Campus

Our school community celebrates the various backgrounds of our students by inviting our teachers, students, and their families to share cultural traditions. Throughout the year, one can find children learning about Ramadan from a classmate’s presentation, spinning a dreidel during Hanukkah, watching a colorful dragon dance for Lunar New Year, painting t-shirts to experience the traditions of Holi, creating lanterns in honor of Diwali, and so much more. These learning opportunities reach far beyond the academic curriculum. They put agape into action and teach our students to embrace the uniqueness of their peers.

Above left to right: Lower school students; Grey Morrison ’30, Amishi Shah, and Joseph Wood ’30 Opposite: Pia Palandjoglou ’28

Commitment to Inclusivity

Many years ago, AOS participated in the Assessment of Inclusivity and Multiculturalism, a survey offered by the National Association of Independent Schools. It is designed to give schools a deeper understanding of the inclusivity on their campus. As previously mentioned, AOS has grown substantially over time, and we strive to build an environment that feels safe and secure for all of our families. This fall, our community will participate in the assessment once again, and we will utilize this information to reflect on our efforts thus far while also looking to the future for ways to improve our campus environment. AOS is dedicated to ensuring our faculty, staff, students, and families feel welcomed and valued each day. The Greek Orthodox Christian faith teaches us to have a solid foundation of respect and understanding for one another, and we are committed to upholding these values both inside our classrooms and as a longstanding institution of Greater Houston.



relevance it plays in their own lives.

In August of 2021, we began the school year with much uncertainty. What would classes look like? How would the logistics work for so many of our AOS traditions and events? One area we had to reevaluate was Bible Study.

What started as a problem or a hurdle, turned into a very beautiful development. Twice a month, fifth-, sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students came with their respective grade to volunteer their lunch period for a discussion and better understanding of Holy Scripture and Tradition.

For me, this was my first time teaching a formal Bible Study. Every week was absolutely amazing - interacting with the students, answering their thoughtful questions, and learning more about what the Holy Bible means to them and the

Beginning with the development of the Bible, we learned about the Genealogy of Christ, linking it to biblical and historical evidence. This in cluded the life of Christ and how we learn about Christ through His Disciples, Apostles, and the Saints of our Church. We then looked closely at the New Testament, specifically parables, and worked through the process of exegesis, that is, the critical explanation and interpretation of Holy Scripture.

And of course, we had fun as well! In addition to constant dialogue and participation in class, we had wonderful end-of-the trimester parties with Niko Nikos and pizza, while testing our knowl edge through interactive games, like Jeopardy. The past year would not have been possible without the help of three people: Mrs. Papazis who volunteered her time, talent, and class room; Mrs. Enyart, who scheduled everything,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord, God, and Savior, Jesus Christ!

helped with logistics, and reminded students by placing reminders on their lockers; and, of course, the students, who throughout the year worked diligently and studiously to further their understanding of the Holy Bible.

Bible Study has been such a wonderful experi ence, and I am looking forward to working with the students again in the new academic year! We invite all middle school students to join our Bible Study, to learn more about the Holy Bible and Holy Tradition, and to look deeper into them selves and those around them.

Faithfully, in Service to Christ, Fr. Efstratios J. Magoulias Associate Priest Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral


Each year, I am blown away by the leadership our Lower School Student Council officers and representatives exhibit, and this past year was no exception. Our lower school students elected another group of exceptional leaders to represent our school. The Student Council began the year with exciting assemblies and donation drives led by their president, fourth-grade student Sebastian Blachno. Each month, at the lower school assemblies, Sebastian inspired his fellow students to be their best selves and make our lower school a better place through their actions.

A boy of his word, Sebastian took action when it was needed most. As an individual of Ukrainian descent with friends and family in Ukraine, he immediately sought out opportunities to support the country when the devastating invasion occurred last spring. On March 6, 2022, Sebastian attended the Ukraine rally in downtown Houston. There, he met the Ukrainian Consul General and decided to start a fundraiser called "Help Kids in Ukraine." His fundraiser quickly amassed $15,000, and every dollar was spent on resources for children in Ukraine. Sebastian and his friends also organized sales events for lemonade, baked goods, and candy bars to gather additional funds for resources which included medicines, first-aid kits, and more. To ship these important items, Sebastian and his parents worked closely with Medical Bridges, a nonprofit in Houston providing healthcare supplies worldwide to those in need.

As the Lower School Student Council President, Sebastian decided to turn to his peers at AOS for more help, and an assembly was organized where he shared his story. Inspired by Sebastian's leadership, the


Ukrainian Consul General of Houston also visited AOS on this day and spoke to our students about the devastation in Ukraine. With AOS rallied behind him, Sebastian led our school through a successful donation drive. AOS collected over 40 boxes of medical supplies that were shipped directly to war-torn Ukraine and surrounding areas with the help of Medical Bridges.

It was incredibly heartwarming to watch Sebastian and his classmates rally around a cause that hit very close to home for him. If what these students accomplished at this young age is any indication of what they will do in the future, the world is in for a major change for the better!

Hello AOS Families,

Thank you so much for your very generous donations to the Ukrainian Donation Drive. You all have made a huge contribution. I would like to thank the AOS leadership for sponsoring and making this event happen. Also, thank you fourth graders for packing these items into boxes and helping the Medical Bridges staff load the boxes into the truck. The AOS community is such a wonderful group, and I am so proud and delighted to be at AOS.

Please pray for Ukraine whenever you can and pray for peace to come back soon!

Thank you!

Opposite (top to bottom): Sebastian Blachno ’26 and Consul General of Ukraine in Houston Vitalii Tarasiuk; Kate Blackwell ‘26 and Stella Rowoldt ’26; Above: Korina & Eric Blachno, Assistant Head of Early Childhood & Lower School Kelley Elliott, Stephanie Alexander’s homeroom class


Dolphin Daily News has been a longstanding program at AOS, and lower school students tune in each day to say the pledge, hear announcements, celebrate birthdays, and see what’s for lunch! In the fall of 2020, with COVID-19 protocols in place, the original two-anchor broadcast had to be redesigned. The entire operation became a group effort where students filmed their reports from home and teachers joined in to cover special topics such as: Mindful Mondays with Mrs. Shelton, Tuesday’s Tip of the Day with Mrs. Corbett, Wednesday’s Daily Bread with Mrs. Koinis, Throwback Thursdays (slideshows of photos from the past), and Get Fit Fridays with Coach Robinson.

Throughout the reboot process, the class of 2025, then fourth-grade students, were highly engaged with the creation of new content and sought opportunities to make the broadcast even better. It was no surprise when fall 2021 rolled around that the same group of students asked to create a news broadcast for middle school. With the students’ enthusiasm for a new project, we crafted a proposal and presented it to Dr. Fragomeni, Mrs. Haas, and Mr. Foye. After a quick deliberation, the administrative team unanimously agreed to the addition of a middle school broadcast. Since middle school students already met for announcements during Agape several times a week, it was decided that the middle school news would air once a week on Mondays. Thus, The AOS Weekly was born!

After several months of lunchtime brainstorms, additional students joined the founding members and we all hit the ground running. Students created a logo, planned each week’s content, wrote and edited scripts, and most importantly, filmed numerous takes of every report, and even found time to laugh through their bloopers. Finally, the first episode of the AOS Weekly debuted in every middle school classroom on March 21, 2022.

This episode was anchored by Aydin Manal and Marcus Suarez. It included a welcome and introduction, birthdays of the week, the athletics schedule for the week, a joke, and a funny blooper. The AOS Weekly (TAW) continued to air each Monday until the end of the 2021-2022 school year, airing 10 episodes in total.

My priority was to provide this group with the guidance and tools necessary to bring their vision to life, while still allowing them to explore creative ideas and take ownership of the final product. As a result, each member learned a valuable lesson in teamwork and strategy. With the first episode under their belts, they quickly realized that the next one would need stronger writing. After much discussion, students changed roles to fit their strengths, and in the end, they produced a higher quality episode.

It is incredible what students can accomplish when we allow their passion and interests to lead the way. As this program grows, it is my hope that students take on even more respon sibilities in the production process. The sky’s the limit at AOS, and I cannot wait to see what our news crew accomplishes next!

The Founding Members

Aydin Manal, Jonathan Lang, James Miller and Marcus Suarez

Producer Jonathan Lang

Cinematographer James Miller

Screenwriter Evelyn Getschow, Caroline Lewis, Luca el-Khouri

Creative Anita Thrash, Aydin Manal, Marcus Suarez, Derrick Mitchell, Emery Albright

Editor Kiki Guo, Russell Bonasso

Advertising Zara Ersinghaus

Opposite (top to bottom): Marcus Suarez ’25 and Aydin Manal ’25; Emery Albright ’25 and Marcus Suarez ’25.
12 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL Lamar High School 2 Students Awty International School 1 Student St. Agnes Academy 11 Students St. Thomas High School 10 Students CLASS OF 2022! Episcopal High School 23 Students St. John’s School 14 Students Strake Jesuit College Prepatory 11 Students The Kinkaid School 2 Students
Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart
Student The Post Oak School 1 Student Humble High School 1 Student Episcopal High SchoolVirginia 1 Student Xavier Educational Academy 1 Student HSPVA 1 Student St. Pius X High School


…We are looking at a group that includes excellent athletes, artists, performers, writers, readers, and mathematicians. You have enough positive attributes and skills among you that I could spend the rest of my time today describing all of the wonderful things you have accomplished during your time at AOS and the skills you have gained up until this point in your young lives. This is, however, not the most helpful information I can share during my short time addressing you today….

…If you go to the biography section of any book store and select the life story of anyone you admire, I guarantee you that book will include stories about taking risks and overcoming fear. Every single one of those stories includes someone whose heart was about to jump out of their chest or had a stomach in knots, but they chose to push forward and take a risk anyway. You are entering the part of life where you can choose to take risks and work your way toward greatness….

…If you hear an opinion that is different from your own, seek to understand it. If someone is angry or upset, seek to understand why. Ask questions and operate under the assumption that rational, smart, educated people can and will think differently from you sometimes… We all have a lot to learn from each other, and the answer to any disagreement is often found somewhere in the middle…

…This school and all of the academic, character, and spiritual lessons you learned will be part of you forever just as you will be part of it…

Congratulations to the class of 2022!

Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni


Throughout our time at AOS, be it 1 or 11 years, or anywhere in between, there have been surprises, there have been changes, and there have been memories made. As we all look forward to what our high school years will hold for us, we mustn’t forget the memories that make us who we are. It's because of every friend, every class, every Olympics, and, unfortunately, every homework assignment, that make us the people who are here today…

…At this point, all that we can do is say our thanks to the teachers and staff that shaped us as we worked our way through the years. And I hope I speak for everyone when I say I wouldn’t change a minute of it.

Although it seems like a century has passed, I feel like my first day was just yesterday. On that day, the other lifers and I made our way into the old Jones Center. I can still picture the warm, enduring smile that Ms. Stratas wore effortlessly on her face as each student entered the classroom. I remember being worried about leaving my mom for the first time, and how Ms. Stratas comforted me. However, I found that same warmth every year with my new teacher.

I would like to say thank you to our wonderful teachers. As I think about my life at AOS, I can’t help but acknowledge their presence. Without your extraordinary efforts to teach us, we would have never arrived at this milestone.

“I will miss Olympics and all the games that led to Olympics. It is the most exciting time of year!” Jocelyn Valencia ’22
“Of the many things I will miss about AOS, the one thing I will miss the most is the community and family I have built here. AOS is truly a place full of special and kind people, and I am going to miss them all.” Grace McGinty ’22
Class of 2022 WHAT I’LL MISS MOST
“I will miss seeing Mr. Georgandis and all of the amazing teachers at AOS.”
Gavin DiBella ’22
“I'll miss having a close connection with my teachers and really getting to know them.”
Caroline Basu ’22
“I will miss my friends the most. AOS allowed me to meet many people who I wish to remain friends with throughout high school. ”
Finley Wiesedeppe ’22
“I will miss all the friendships that I have made over the years with my peers and teachers. I will also miss all of the extra half days and field trips that we have taken.”
Myles Patterson ’22


Retirees of 2022 who have dedicated 25 years or more to the AOS mission

Marti Carr

Where were you born? Huntingburg, Indiana

What year did you start at AOS? 1983

How did you come to work at AOS?

I answered an ad in a neighborhood newspaper and called Katherine Veletsos' house (the Head of School)! I still remember her calling me back and telling me her daughter thought I was funny and energetic on the phone.

What positions have you held at the school? Physical education teacher/P.E. coordinator, cross country coach, track and field coach, and team leader

What are three words you would use to describe AOS? Family, uplifting, loving

What are three words your students would use to describe you? Energetic, loud, positive

If your profession wasn't related to school, what would it be? Obstetrician

After your many years of experience in education, if you had the chance, what advice would you give your younger self? Do not think it is ever going to get easier. It is the constant change and challenge that keeps you forever inspired and excited to be a teacher!

Opposite: Leiah Begg ’22, AJ Patterson ’22, Ella Utterson ’22, Gemma Huang ’22, Ava Airhart ’22, Nicholas Khalil ’22


Retirees of 2022 who have dedicated 25 years or more to the AOS mission

Alisa Eng

Where were you born? Houston, Texas

What year did you start at AOS? 1992

How did you come to teach/work at AOS?

My daughter started attending AOS in 1988. I became a parent volunteer working on several school committees and served as president of the AOS PTC from 1990-91. Through my five years of being a parent volunteer, I worked closely with Katherine Veletsos who was Head of School at the time. We were talking at the end-of-year school picnic, and I told her that I was thinking of going back to work part-time. I asked if there were any openings in the business office. She said, " I think you would make a great teacher. We have an opening as a kindergarten assistant, would you be interested?” I immediately said yes and never looked back!

What positions have you held at the school?

I was a kindergarten assistant teacher, library assistant, fifth-grade religion teacher, reading specialist, fourth-grade study skills enrichment teacher, academic support coordinator, and director of curriculum and instructional support.

What are three words you would use to describe AOS?

AOS is a magical, happy, and a unique community like no other.

What is your favorite book(s)?

Little Pea or any children's book by the late author Amy Krouse Rosenthal

What are three words your students would use to describe you?

Supportive, problem-solver, creative

If your profession wasn't teaching/working in a school, what would it be?



Sami Mossbarger

Where were you born? Harlingen, Texas

What year did you start at AOS? 1992

How did you come to teach/work at AOS?

I was teaching 7th and 8th grade science at Sugar Land Middle School in Ft. Bend ISD when I ran across an ad for a science teacher opportunity at AOS. I called and was invited to come in to apply. I filled out the application while sitting in a hallway and then interviewed with Katherine Veletsos and Deborah Yoakum, the future new Middle School Head. I was offered the position about four weeks later!

What positions have you held at the school?

Middle school science teacher for all levels, team leader, and softball coach for 12 years

What are three words you would use to describe AOS? Family, devotion, loyalty

What are three words your students would use to describe you?

Fair, firm, and fun, most of the time.

If your profession wasn't teaching/working in a school, what would it be?

I would be a forensic crime specialist and would work on cold cases to bring needed answers to families who have waited for years to know the truth of a crime.

After your many years of experience in the classroom, if you had the chance, what advice would you give your younger self?

It’s the process of learning that is so very important and not the content of what is being taught. In our teacher youth, we tend to get caught up in how important our subject matter is, when really it is just another step to facilitate learning along the long road of a student’s educational path.

22 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL 1) Marion Beebe ’28 2) Astrid Ellzey '30 and Georgia Andrews '30 3) Eleni Collins ’30 and Colette Collins 4) Eugene Koay, Peter Hsu, Robert Doty and Bob Doty 5) AOS fathers and sons 6) Roslyn Bazzelle Mitchell, Charlene Tombar, and Paula Galhardo 7) Kathy Zoeller, Jack Zoeller '23, and Steve Zoeller 8) Charlie Yates ’29 9) John Field, Denton Harris, Doug Mellen and George Fibbe 10) Charlie Garvey ’25, Owen Utterson ’25, Camila Bailey ’25, Daphne Siappas ’25, Clara Jordan ’25 and Elliot Jordan ’25 2021-2022: A Year in Review SPECIAL EVENTS Back to School Bash Daddy/Daughter Night Out Book Fair & Spaghetti Dinner Dads Club Golf Tournament Father/Son Night Out Gala Grandparents & Special Friends Day Eikon Art Show Dads Club Sporting Clays Olympics 22 ANNUNCIATION ORTHODOX SCHOOL


Over fifty years ago, Reverend Nicholas and Presvytera Diane Triantafilou dreamed of starting a school for the families of Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral and its neighbors. With the support and commitment of the parishioners, the Cathedral opened the doors of its Polemenakos Education Building to fourteen Prekindergarten stu dents. With each year, the school added an additional grade level, forming a complete elementary school in 1977. By 1994, AOS finally became a full-fledged preschool through 8th-grade school. Rooted in the Greek Orthodox faith, the spirit of AOS emerged with the development of traditions, special events, and an educational program designed to develop the hearts and minds of our students. These components are kept alive by our incredible community, for whom AOS is a beloved second home.

Annunciation Orthodox School is blessed with a long, rich history, and we were so excited to finally gather for a proper celebration of our 50th anniversary on February 5, 2022. This major event was a wonderful reminder of how far AOS has come in 50 years and the amazing faculty, staff, students, and families that brought us to where we are today. We can't wait to see what the next 50 years have in store!

Right (top to bottom): Kris McGee and Eleni McGee ’11; Maria Newton and Tim Newton; Opposite (left to right): Top Henry Rowoldt '28, Stella Rowoldt ’26; Middle Row Cindy Tatum, Alvina Hamilton and Angie Ramirez; Demetri Dale and Annie Price; Bottom Christian Triantaphyllis and Alex Triantaphyllis


Tricia Georgiou, 2022 Recipient

Each year, the Silver Pillar Award is given to an outstanding AOS volunteer. First awarded in 1996 to the founders of the school, Father Nick Triantafilou, his wife Presvytera Diane, and to the founding Head of School Katherine Veletsos, The Silver Pillar Award for Outstanding Service is Annunciation Orthodox School’s top volunteer honor.

Tricia Georgiou is the 2022 Silver Pillar Award recipient. Tricia worked tirelessly to volunteer her time with the AOS community since the early 2000s. A proud mom to Katherine, Nick, Alec, Eleni and Emma, she shared her many talents to keep the spirit of AOS traditions alive.

Tricia served as the PTC President and chaired many PTC events including the Olympics, the Spaghetti Dinner, Swim Day, Grandparents Day (twice) and she was Team Sports Chair. Even when not chairing an event, Tricia could be found serving on a committee, sorting Olympic medals in the PTC room, decorating the school for the Book Fair or making signs for AOS sports teams to run through at a spirit game. She has a heart for all things AOS and she will be dearly missed as all of her children have now graduated from AOS.

Through the years, Tricia faithfully gave of her time, talent and resources and she has made a long-lasting impact on AOS in many ways. It is hard to imagine not seeing her on campus, but we are confident she will continue to support our school and we know we can count on her to cheer on the dads at the annual Dads Club Golf Tournament in memory of her beloved Panos.


Marti Carr, 2022 Recipient

The Triantafilou Award was introduced as part of the school’s 50th Year Anniversary Celebration. The award is given to someone who embodies and promotes the mission of Annunciation Orthodox School. The Triantafilou Award is named in honor of Father Nick Triantafilou, and his wife Presvytera Diane, the founders of our school.

Marti Carr is the 2022 Triantafilou Award recipient. Everyone at AOS has been touched by Marti Carr’s magic at some point throughout their time at AOS. If Marti has a vision or a dream, she will do anything to make it come to life - and while she is in the midst of doing something great, she is constantly thinking to herself “How can I make this even better next time?” - all while inspiring those around her to be their best selves on their own journeys to greatness.

Over her years at AOS, she made it a better place through her innovative programs such as Lap Day, The Olympics, Swim Day, the Lock-In, Dance Express and so much more! Whether she was teaching Gross Motor or coaching a championship cross country team, she always put her students and runners first. Marti is a true servant leader. For 39 years, she served the students, families, faculty, and staff of her beloved AOS with all of her heart and soul. She is agape in action and an authentic AOS Dolphin. We wish her the best in her retirement, and thank her for making us all better humans.



When did you attend AOS?

I attended AOS from 1995 through graduation in 2006, preschool to 8th grade.

How has an AOS education shaped who you are today?

I am grateful for an AOS education that taught me hard work, determination, and a good attitude will get you very far in life. (Or as far as I’ve gotten at this point, haha!)

I also remember that AOS folds agape – the unconditional love of your neighbor – into their daily education, and AOS holds that value very high. That has stuck with me since I left AOS and it is what I continue to hold onto. AOS also kept me close to my faith in the Greek Orthodox Church and gave me a place to interact with peers in a setting that respected my Greek heritage. The older I get, I understand how rare that experience was and how special AOS is because of its commitment to their mission.

What is your favorite memory either related to the arts or in general from AOS?

There was a special teacher at AOS, Jeri Lodato, and her class was the first where I actually enjoyed writing. I had her in fourth grade and honestly at that point in my life, I really hated English class. I liked writing, but didn’t like applying formalities. Jeri saw something different in me, it seems. I remember her specifically teaching me how to write the perfect topic sentence, and I really enjoyed that process. I enjoy writing because of teachers like Jeri Lodato and many others.

I also loved Mr. Phillips' musical theater experiences at AOS and enjoyed being a part of talent shows and singing and dance programs. This was my first glimpse into production and what it felt like to gain confidence by performing for audiences.

Alumni Spotlight: Cokinos Siblings

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in this field?

There have been a number of people that inspired me to get into TV/film production, writing, and storytelling as a whole. I know my late grandfather, General Mike P. Cokinos, who most know only as "The General," and my father really inspired me to pursue something related to telling stories. My grandfather would tell us the most epic war stories, being a decorated brigadier general. He’d always have a crowd of people around him listening to his every word. My father would always tell me stories before going to bed when I was a kid, and he’d make them up out of thin air - all the time. We also read together. Harry Potter is my best memory of those days. I wasn’t quite old enough to read the book by myself, so he’d read it to me. He always encouraged me to read, to write, and to use my imagination to attain the unbelievable. Intentional or not, I think he really imparted unto me a great love for stories and for storytelling.

What is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far?

I am currently proud of producing, writing, and directing my own award-winning short film, titled Lightning’s Echo, and opening my own production company named Stellabelle. I am also working on a massive science fiction show titled Invasion on Apple TV+, produced and written by Simon Kinberg, as my day-to-day job for the last three years. I work very hard at trying to make my own projects while still adhering to my goals within the industry.

What advice do you have for the next generation of students at AOS who might be interested in film or related fields?

Don’t listen to the people who say you’ll never get a job in TV, film, or entertainment in general. It’s a busy industry, there’s TONS of content out there and many worthwhile projects to work on. If the field inspires you, but you may not want to act or write, look to the other areas like finance, client representation, or even raising money for a production; investigate the field! Don’t turn your eyes away from something you might love just because others say it won’t work or because it might be difficult. Anything you pursue in this world is going to be difficult, so why not pursue something you love?

What is one goal you hope to accomplish next? I’m ready to create another film. Hopefully, I will get that off the ground while I continue to write scripts of my own and visualize myself as a writer. I think it’s enlightening to realize that the starting point of any great movie or a well-written TV show is a blank piece of paper and a first sentence — that is so empowering. Anyone can start by writing their own story.

Any other fun fact(s) you’d like to share about your career experiences?

For the b etter first half of my career, I was really steeped in the comedy world, working for Tina Fey and her producing team for about five years, on 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. I really enjoyed my time working on those shows.

My first day on Invasion was a day that we had to literally blow up a street. I arrived at the set for my first time and everything was on fire – cars, lawns, houses, etc. It was WILD and a dream come true to walk onto the set of a genre I hold in such high regard. I was honestly like a kid in a candy store. It’s fun to work on things you love! I highly recommend it!


Alumni Spotlight: Cokinos Siblings


When did you attend AOS?

I am a proud “lifer” and attended AOS from 1998 to 2009, preschool through 8th grade.

How has an AOS education shaped who you are today?

AOS provided me with a sound foundation in a challenging educational environment where I felt nurtured and loved by the whole community. AOS is so much more than a school. It afforded me a well- rounded experience that supported how I was raised by my parents as a Greek Orthodox Christian of 100% Greek heritage.

What is your favorite memory either related to the arts or in general from AOS?

One of my earliest memories is when I was chosen in kindergarten to play the Virgin Mary in the Christmas play. I loved dressing up and acting. I also always violated the socks and sneaker rule because I wanted to wear bright colors! Sports were my favorite activity at AOS because it built my self-confidence in all areas. Mr. Phillips always cast me in roles where I could dress up, and I loved his costume shop!

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in this field? What is your greatest professional accomplishment thus far?

I always loved New York, photography, clothes, and fashion in general. Upon graduating from TCU in 2017 in strategic communications, I moved to New York. There, I pursued jobs in traditional fashion magazines but was told that this was not a growing industry. Other magazine editors along with my brother encouraged me to explore the costume design area in television and film. I networked with people in the industry and soon landed an entry level position as a costume production assistant on USA Network’s “The Sinner.”

I have worked consecutively on eight television shows for Apple, Netflix, NBC, HBO, CBS, NBC, and Showtime. My greatest accomplishment so far is being invited to join the IATSE United Scenic Artist, Local 829 Union along with my most recent promotion to First Assistant Costume Designer on the CBS’ hit show FBI season 5.


What advice do you have for the next generation of students at AOS who might be interested in film or related fields?

I would encourage them to do what they love! The arts are critical to developing people who are leaders, compassionate, tolerant, and creative in all industries. Everyone loves movies and television. They provide beauty and a deeper understanding of humanity and the world. People should not be intimidated or afraid to enter the arts as there are plenty of exciting and well-paying jobs if one is willing to work hard. No one should ever feel like the pursuit of a career in film will not be successful!

What is one goal you hope to accomplish next?

I would like to work on different shows such as another “period piece” set in the past as I find these to be creatively challenging. My ultimate professional goal is to be promoted to the position of costume designer and continue building my career.

Any other fun fact(s) you’d like to share about your career experiences?

I love my work because I never know what the next adventure will be or what will happen the next day! I have learned so much about how to work with all kinds of people, been used as a body double for famous actresses, met the cast of 30 Rock, worked with Al Pacino, walked the sets of Billions, and saw my name on television in the credits. I wouldn’t trade any of it for any other type of work!




American University Zoe Chang

AU Deans' Scholarship

Auburn University Sophia Butler Baylor University Garrett Koerth

Colin Moore

Ethan Rowell

Baylor Distinctio Award

Boston College Michael Posoli Douglas Suell

Butler University Davis Barringer

Case Western Reserve

Tobechi Nwabudike Academic Scholarship

Clemson University Marshall Owens

College of William and Mary Ava Leung

Dartmouth College Elliott Ecklund Davidson College Elizabeth McGee

Emerson College Anne-Claire Edwards Emerson College Aspire Scholarship

Jenifer Katzen

Emory University Nicolas Sullo Baseball

Georgetown University Evan Eckland

Haverford College

Arbor Ahlgren National Merit and Phi Betta Kappa

College Choices

Loyola Marymount University

Naya Rhemtulla Presidential Achievement Scholarship

Manhattan School of Music Dylan Wilson Presidential Scholarship

Marquette University Zulema Georgandis

Middlebury College Matthew Held

Northwestern University Connor Smith Rice University Alexander Elliott Paul Smith Baseball Kile Stenoien Elizabeth Sullo Karis Williams Southern Methodist University John Dameris Provost Scholarship

Texas A&M University Scott Bera Jackson Berger Brown Scholar Helena Platis

Tufts University Daniel Miner Union College Nolan Kelley Presidential Scholarship and Computer Science/ Engineering Scholar

University of Arkansas Lily Tanner

University of Colorado Boulder Owen Baum

University of Denver Colin McCormick Centennial Scholar

University of Georgia Katherine Fuselier BCI Scholarship, MD Anderson AYA Scholarship Morgan Rippstein

University of Maryland Peter Jackson Basketball President’s Scholarship University of Miami Sela Sanders Crew Team

University of Michigan Cole Bailey

University of Pennsylvania Kaia Chambers Soccer Natalie Ou

University of Tennessee at Knoxville Max Stovall

University of Texas at Austin Natalie Allen Ria Arabandi Wade Arntzen Alexandra Benz Thierry Chu Daniel Colson Daniel Flood

Katarzyna Kwiatkowski Track & Field

Isabel McIntyre Sadie Niermeyer

Katherine Schott Emmanuel Sgouros Cross Country Meera West University of Virginia Kenneth Moffet

Emily Schroeder

Madeline Webster University of Washington Eric Fairchild University of Wisconsin Nicholas Klopp

Villanova University Samuel Randall Swimming

West Texas A&M Ethan Way



Planned giving provides donors with the opportunity to make a more substantial gift than would otherwise be possible and to create a longlasting legacy at AOS.

The Lithos Society was created to recognize and express gratitude to alumni, parents, grandparents, and friends who have established a charitable gift for AOS in their estate plans. Planned gifts provide critical funds to strengthen and sustain the school’s future. By including AOS in your long-term planning, you become part of setting the lithos (foundation) for the school's future generations.

Examples of planned gifts include naming AOS in your will or as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, pension, IRA, 401(k) plan, or charitable remainder trust. If you have already included AOS in your estate plans, please let us know so we can appropriately acknowledge and thank you for your gift!

If you are interested in learning more about the Lithos Society and how you can give a gift to AOS that will last a lifetime, please contact Jill Buja, Director of Advancement, at jbuja@aoshouston. org or visit for more information.

The word lithos means stone, but throughout time its connotation has evolved into a broader meaning. Most commonly, lithos is used to refer to the foundation of new construction. In the Orthodox Christian language, the word lithos is used to describe Christ as the founder of the Church.


Mary Catherine (Jackson) Holliday ’04 and husband Ryan Holliday welcomed Robert Jackson Holliday on June 24, 2021.

Jackie Effenson ’97 joined the marketing organization at Houston Methodist in the fall of 2021, leading the digital department as the Digital Marketing director. It was a long awaited goal to be part of Houston's healthcare community.

Melissa Moriarty ’99 and partner Teddy Lubin welcomed their first child, a healthy baby boy, Harry Michael Lubin on April 16, 2022.

Sidney Elizabeth Phillips ’12 received a Masters of Global Affairs from Rice University on May 6, 2022. Sidney is also a 2022 - 2023 Fulbright Scholar Award winner.

Bailey (Teas) Mongeon ’04 married Christopher Mongeon on December 4, 2021 in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Andrew Cafcalas ’12 is a specialist at the Apple Store and recently achieved five years with the company! He is using the many skills he learned at AOS every day at his job.

Carling Repass ’10 married her college sweetheart in March 2022, graduated from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University in May 2022 with a masters in public service and administration, and recently moved to Virginia to start a job in internal audit at Virginia Tech.

Sarah Grant ’13 graduated with highest honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor's in Plan II Honors, a Bachelor of Business Administration in finance, and a Health Professions Certificate. She is now attending Baylor Medical School in Houston.

Joe Simon ’15 graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in physics.

For class of 2014 alumnae Kate Gartrell, Katie Perini, Emily Sullivan, Kathryn Disch, Allana Webb, and Lia Onisiphorou, AOS was not only an incredible kickstart to their academic careers, but to their friendship as well. They each found their way to Texas A&M University for college and cannot wait to continue their friendship as they enter into their careers. Kate graduated in December 2021 with a double major in history and psychology. She will begin law school in the fall of 2023. Katie graduated in December 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in biomedical science and is now working as a medical assistant while applying to physician assistant programs. Emily graduated in May 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and minors in sociology and English. She is looking forward to applying to law school. Kathryn graduated with a degree in biomedical science and is headed to work for Baylor Scott and White in Dallas. Allana graduated in August 2022 with a degree in agricultural business. Upon graduation, she will work as a high school ministry director at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston. Lia will graduate in December 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunication media studies with a minor in leadership and a social media certificate. After graduation, she will pursue a career in marketing.

Top row: Emily Sullivan, Kathryn Disch, Lea Onisiphorou. Bottom row: Katie Perini, Allana Webb, Kate Gartrell.



Arbor Ahlgren ’18 (right) and Karis Williams ’18 (left) graduated from St. Agnes in May 2022 as valedictorian and salutatorian, respectively! This fall, Arbor will attend Haverford College and Karis will attend Rice Univeristy.

Jessica (Wimberley) Solcher ’10 married Matthew Solcher on July 10th, 2021 at St. John Vianney Catholic Church. They recently purchased their first home together in Houston, and Jessica is now a first grade teacher at AOS! Also pictured, third from right, Kate Wimberley ’14, far right Mackenzie Hayes ’11.

Elizabeth (Frierson) Taaffe ’01 and husband Brett welcomed their fourth child, Eleanor Elizabeth Taaffe, on May 6, 2022. Big siblings, William (8), Thomas (6), and Isabelle (4) adore their little sister.

Pediatric oncology nurse, Cia Pappas ’13 was awarded 2022 Nurse Resident of the Year for Texas Children's Hospital in May 2022.

Michael Kelly ’02 and wife Sarah welcomed baby girl Madison on October 14, 2021, and Christina (Kelly) Burgess ’00, husband J.T., and big brother Alex welcomed baby boy George on June 20, 2022.

Emmanuel Sgouros ’18 competed in the Eastbay Cross Country Nationals in December 2021 and placed 10th in the country earning him a spot on the All American Team. Emmanuel is committed to run at the University of Texas at Austin this fall. His love for running all started with Lap Day at AOS!

Katrazyna Kwiatkowski ’18, signed with University of Texas at Austin for track & field/cross country.


Jacki Carr ’98 was featured in the January 2022 issue of Colorado Parent magazine. She is a Denver-based goal coach and now has three little girls!

Katherine (Koinis) Monk ’01, husband Joseph Monk, and big brother Peter (2) welcomed baby boy James on April 23, 2022. Maria Eleni (Koinis) Soechting ’03, husband Chad Soechting, big brother George (2), and big sister Eleni (1) welcomed baby boy Charlie on May 28, 2022. Cousins from left to right: Eleni, James, Peter, Charlie, and George.

The Delphian is published annually by the Communications Office, with support from the Advancement Office. It is sent to alumni, current parents, grandparents, and friends of the school who wish to receive it. For information or questions regarding The Delphian, please contact

THE DELPHIAN Editor in Chief Penny Angelo Contributing Editors Jill Buja, Katherine (Koinis) Monk ’01 Photography Indie-Pepper, Alan Ross, Chris Spicks Photography, AOS Faculty & Staff, AOS Community Graphic Design Danielle Garbouchian Administration Team Head of School Dr. Samuel V. Fragomeni Assistant to the Head of School Colleen Wade Head of Early Childhood & Lower School Sharon Corbett Assistant Head of Early Childhood & Lower School Kelley Elliott Head of Middle School Heather Haas Assistant Head of Middle School Johna Rusk Director of Advancement Jill Buja Director of Admission Molly Khalil Director of Communications Sarah Dennis Director of Finance & Operations Bryant Richardson Director of Technology Patrick Foye Director of Physical Education & Athletics Ron Robinson Director of Extended Day Emily Benton Fall 2022
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