|Print this story||Permalink|
In the years since her 6-year-old daughter’s untimely death, Bayside mother Effie Nicolopoulos said she found solace in keeping the memory alive by giving back to the community.
The nonprofit Ekaterini Tsiboukis Scholarship fund, now entering its fourth year, will go toward as many as five area students in honor of Katerina Tsiboukis, who was killed July 12, 2009, during a car accident in Greece, her mother said.
Nicolopoulos said she and her husband, Eleftherios Tsiboukis, launched the scholarship on their own to keep their daughter’s name alive in Queens for years to come. Her parents remembered little Katerina as a motivated and accomplished child who liked to practice martial arts, dance, swimming, and skiing when she was outside the classroom.
The fund provides full or partial scholarships to students who cannot afford tuition and demonstrate academic excellence, Nicolopoulos said. It was also established in part to provide financial aid to students for dance, swim, and aikido. Qualified students must be New York residents between kindergarten and 12th grade who participate in two or more weekly extracurricular activities and maintain an A average or above, the application said.
Katerina was in the car with Nicolopoulos’ parents and her younger sister Christina, who was 4 years old at the time. Christina Tsiboukis was the only survivor, but kept her late sister close when she transferred from Noah’s Ark School for kindergarten to the same school Katerina once attended at Flushing’s William Spyropoulos Greek American Day School.
In 2010, the school on the Bayside-Flushing border, at 196th Street and Northern Boulevard, dedicated its first playground to Katerina’s memory, fulfilling a dream the young Baysider once held dear. Before the playground was constructed, students at the school had only a brick courtyard to play on.
“I still smile every time I see it,” Nicolopoulos said. “She would always ask my husband for a playground, so he wanted to do that for her.”
The family routinely holds events throughout the year to raise money for the scholarships, Nicolopoulos said. They joined with neighbors in January, as they do every year, to celebrate what would have been Katerina’s 10th birthday at Bayside’s Pizzeria Uno.
“The people of this community were amazing,” Nicolopoulos said. “I don’t like to cry on Katerina’s birthday. I like to celebrate that she was here and who she was.”
Since launching the scholarship and seeing Katerina’s dream playground come to life, the family welcomed in a new life with the June birth of Aggelos Tsiboukis.
“It’s exciting, yet bittersweet,” mother Nicolopoulos said. “Every moment is another memory Katerina should have been here with us.”
An application for this year’s scholarship can be downloaded online at rememberkaterina.org and must be submitted by May 15, Nicolopoulos said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4573.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
|Print this story||Permalink|
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.