I have graduated in 1986. I remember as if it was yesterday, my anxiety and enthusiasm entering American Academy doors for the first time, back in 1979. Since then, Academy and all it stands for, all it has offered me, so much more than mere top level academic education, follows me and escorts me in every step I make in life. I am grateful to my beloved parents for the sacrifices they had to pass through to offer me this great opportunity to attend American Academy. I am also grateful to my American Academy teachers for being my life mentors.
The Academy taught me, not only the values of friendship, respect and honoring our elders and teachers but also to care about the less privileged. Indeed, the School’s motto, “To Grow and To Serve”, has been deeply embedded in my soul and I still carry it with me as one of the most precious values in life. I know that the same value is well embedded in the hearts of all AA graduates.
I am enthusiastic though and the feelings bring back memories as when I was just entering American Academy for the first time back in 1979. I pray to our Lord to give me guidance to perform my new duties well and to the expectations of those who entrusted me with my new position.
After graduation, I continued my education in the USA where I earned a bachelor’s degree with a double major in Psychology and English Literature. Later I completed my master degree in Risk Crisis and Disaster Management at Leicester University, UK.
Early on, I pursued a career in the wider field of humanitarian aid and support. I first joined the Fire Service where I served several positions. As a firefighter, I responded to many fires and other emergencies but the epitome of my career in the Fire Service was my response to the deadly earthquake in Athens, Greece in 1999. Soon after, I changed job, but not the wider field of emergencies and disaster management, by joining the Cyprus Civil Defence Force. As a Civil Defence Officer, I attended numerous trainings both in Cyprus and abroad and had the opportunity to participate myself as a trainer in many trainings both in Cyprus and abroad. As a Civil Defence Officer I also had to respond to many emergencies and disasters. The missions I took part, especially those abroad to Greece and to Israel to face disastrous fires, will always accompany my memories. Lately, I had a new change of career. I was appointed as the Director of a new Training Center called CYCLOPS, here in Larnaca. I look at my new post as a new challenge.
There are so many things I remember from my life as a student at the Academy. My involvement in sports, to the various clubs, the extra curriculum activities I had the opportunity to take part to, Thanksgiving gathering of food for the more needy, the First Aid club, working at the School’s canteen, involvement in the Brotherhood Committee, excursions, but above all the bonding and real brotherhood/sisterhood not only with my classmates but also with our teachers.
Graduating from American Academy did not mean departing from my school. Being a member of the American Academy Alumni Association, I always felt a sense of ownership of the School and a sense of debt towards it for the so many things it had offered not only to me but to the so many thousands of its graduates and through them, to our town and to the society as a whole. As such, when I was offered the opportunity to offer back to our School, in a tangible way, I found myself returning to its inner walls through the Council of the Board of Directors. Serving three terms, a total of almost fifteen years at different times, I saw American Academy from a different point of view. I saw our School from the perspective of an organization which not only was on the offering side, but one that also had and continues to have needs, challenges and of course new opportunities. I now understand that American Academy is the institution that it is, because of its non profit character and the fact that it is managed by it’s own graduates who serve the school in a selfness manner. Above all, it is staffed by superb teachers, managers and other support staff who genuinely love the school, its students and adhere to the high principles that our school was founded more than 100 years ago. I would like to take this opportunity and encourage more graduates to stand by our School and support it. The stronger our School is, the more young people it will be able to serve and culminate them to the high ideals it represents, especially the one of Serving Others.