I entered the American Academy in 1978 and graduated in 1985. After my graduation from the Academy and the completion of my military service I took the big decision to travel to the USA for further studies. Travelling alone 9000 kilometres away from my country, leaving behind family and friends, and having to deal with unfamiliar circumstances was a big challenge for me. Soon after my arrival in the USA, I realised how well I was prepared for that venture. The Academy had prepared me exceptionally well both inside and outside of the classroom. As a freshman at the university, I felt well equipped with robust academic background, self-confidence, resilience, and ability to tackle with uncertainty. All those qualities had made my life at the university very pleasant and enjoyable.
Being an athlete at the Academy and a Pancyprian winner at the event of Octathlon, gave me the courage to apply to join my University’s Track and Field team. After successfully going through the trials, I received a tuition scholarship and together with my salary as a waiter at a local Diner restaurant, I managed to self-finance my studies and earn a BA degree in Hotel and Restaurant Administration from New York Institute of Technology and immediately after an MA degree in the area of Human Resources from SUNY at Stony Brook University.
Soon after earning my Master’s degree, I succeeded in getting my first managerial job as an Assistant Manager in a big US hospitality chain based in New York. There I received a lot of training on management processes and procedures and made my first steps in managing and leading people. After working for two years in the USA, I returned back to Cyprus, thus fulling my desire to earn corporate experience in the area of my studies.
After returning to Cyprus in 1994 I was initially employed by a big local Hotel chain and as of 1996 I have been working for Petrolina (Holdings) Public Ltd at the position of the Human Resources Manager. I’m responsible for the Group’s Human Resources functions such as recruitment and selection, performance management, talent management, restructuring, collective agreement negotiations and the alignment of HR policies with business strategy.
My community/out-of work involvement has been rich as I have served as: Chairman of the Board of Directors of the American Academy Alumni Foundation, President of the School Board in Livadia, a Lay Member of the Industrial Disputes Tribunal, a member of the Larnaca District Labour Office consulting committee on labour issues. Currently I’m a member of Saint Paraskevi’s Parish Committee in Livadia and a member of the Cyprus Human Resources Management Association.
I consider that the American Academy has played a vital role in my personal and professional life. For me the American Academy is not just an educational institution but it is much more. Our teachers were our mentors by inspiring us with the American Academy Spirit in building good and well-rounded characters with a strong ethos and genuine will “to grow and to serve”, ingredients that make the American Academy a unique and successful school and its graduates equally unique and successful.
Apart from the education I received, I had participated in many of the school’s extra-curricular activities, I have participated and excelled in athletic competitions and I was involved in voluntary work, learning the value of dedication and teamwork. These have all been experiences that contributed to my overall education and strengthened me to face the challenges of life in a positive manner.
My fondest memories from the American Academy while being a student are: the excursions with the Lefkaritis Green Buses (I never imagined that it would be my employer one day), the charity events we were involved in, the trip to Greece in Year 6, working in the canteen during recesses to raise money for the trip to Greece, the Shield Sports with the English School (Nicosia) stimulating the adrenaline of both teachers and students in an effort for the school to win the shield.
I vividly remember taking part in the top class show by playing in a comedy show personating “Webster” (a young short, smart and funny African American boy) which turned out to be great success. I still meet people in the street greeting me as “Webster”. How can I forget the experiments in the chemistry lab gone wrong, with explosions and filling the lab with smoke and strange odours.
I would never forget the graduation ceremony where we all met together for the last time, having mixed feelings as we all knew that it was the end of an era and the beginning of a new one with each one of us following different paths in our lives.
However, the American Academy acted as a bonding agent some years later, bringing all of my fellow graduates closer to each other, a phenomenon that is very difficult to explain. Until this day, we still get together at least once a year and sometimes twice in the form of mini reunions. Everybody has something to say about his/her school life back then, incidents that happened with teachers, incidents during school trips and stories of falling into blunders. Apart from the get-together events we have also created a Viber group where we interact with each other on a daily basis bringing closer our classmates and especially those who live in other parts of the world such as the UK, Canada and Australia.
My journey through the American Academy was full of hard work, dedication, creativity, successes, I had good times but also bad times, happy moments but also sad moments but at the end I carry with me only the positive things that happened to me. The American Academy was of one of the greatest milestones of my young life,that shaped my personal and professional life. I urge current students to cherish every moment of their school life at the Academy, utilise all the good things that the school has to offer them, follow their dreams with passion and resilience and I’m sure they will succeed.
Serving my beloved school as Chairman of the Board of Directors has been an honour, but at the same time, a huge undertaking full of almost daily challenges which stemmed from my great responsibility towards the School and its founders, the staff, the students, the parents and the alumni. As Board of Directors, it has been our duty to ensure the continuation of offering a high quality education to American Academy students; to safeguard the viability of the School and to sustain the School’s Christian ethos and values.