Nick Lionas is in his final year in Holy Cross. This marks his third year with the Sonia Belcher Hellenic College Holy Cross Ambassadors. Nick is from Rochester, Michigan and is a huge Detroit Tigers fan. He is thankful for his parents Jim and Helene who raised him in an Orthodox Christian home. He is also blessed with two older brothers, Mike and John who have been incredible role models for him. His greatest encourager is his incredible wife Amanda.
Nick has had an active role at the Metropolis of Detroit Summer camp every summer since he was seven years old. This past summer he was a staff member for the CrossRoad Summer Institute. His extensive work with youth in the camp setting, classroom and various retreats around the country give him a good understanding of youth culture in America today. Nick graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor degree in Communication in May of 2009. Immediately upon graduation, he moved to Indianapolis where he worked for Orthodox Christian Fellowship. In January of 2010, the tug of the heart to come to Holy Cross and work towards his Master of Divinity degree, became a reality. Nick has a passion for youth and feels a strong calling toward young adult work in the future. Ultimately, Nick prays he can live out an Orthodox Christian vocation by answering Christ’s call to love God with all that he is and by loving his neighbor as himself in every situation he is in.
Andrew Pavlakos is in his final year at Holy Cross. He graduated from Hellenic College in May, 2010. Andrew has been a part of the Ambassadors' Program for 5 years. Growing up as a Greek-American he only spoke English at home, but once he entered Hellenic College he took the opportunity to learn Modern Greek and even studied abroad in Athens. In the summer of 2011, Andrew, along with fellow students from Holy Cross and from St. Vladimir's Seminary participated in a mission’s practicum with Fr. Luke Veronis in Albania. He has enjoyed beening on staff at Camp Good Shepherd, teaching Orthodox Life for the last few years.
Steven Christoforou is a fourth year student in the Masters of Divinity Program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He hails from Astoria, New York. He went on to study history at Yale University, and then graduated from Fordham University School of Law cum laude. He spent two years at a Wall Street law firm before enrolling at Holy Cross in the Fall of 2009.
Steve has spent the last two years as an Ambassador, and the last three summers with Camp Saint Paul. He looks forward to the retreats with which he'll be able to participate in his final year at school, and looks forward to continuing his involvement in youth work after he graduates in May 2013.
Niko Tzetzis hails from Syracuse, NY. He is a 2009 graduate from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Political Science. Additionally, he has been Orthodox Life Director at the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp for the last 3 years, and he has been a camper/counselor at St. Timothy Summer Camp in Upstate NY for as long as he can remember. His experiences growing up with his closest Orthodox friends in a wonderful community at St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Church in Syracuse helped bring him to his studies here at Holy Cross. He is excited to be working with the great crew we have from HC/HC, and eager and willing to get out and encounter the youth across the country. One of his greatest accomplishements is his marriage to his wife and fellow Ambassador Ivey Tzetzis this past September!
Ivey Tzetzis is from a small town in New Hampshire and is a Junior at Hellenic College. She has enjoyed working with youth in several different capacities from teaching dance to working at summer camps. She has worked for the CrossRoad program at HCHC, St. Timothy Camp in Croghan, NY, and the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp in Rose City, MI. Ivey is excited for another awesome year as an Ambassador, and she is looking forward to getting to know the young people across America and both teaching and learning from them, as well as working with her new husband Niko.
Nicholas Savas is a 4th year seminarian and is in his 1st year in Holy Cross. He is from Fort Myers, Florida. He will begin his third year participating in the Sonia Belcher Ambassadors Program. Nicholas has spent the past 2 summers at Ionian Village where he lead Orthodox Life sessions and ministered to the youth. Since he has joined ambassadors he has done over 25 retreats in 2 years and visited every Metropolis in the Archdiocese. He can not wait to continue his ministry with the youth this year and for many more to come.
Cassandra Garibaldi is in her fourth year at Hellenic College. Her major is Religious Studies. In June 2008 she attended CrossRoad. This is where she found out about Hellenic College, and fell in love with it. At that time she was a junior in high school, and was planning on going to a community college after high school. Through CrossRoad she learned more about Hellenic College, and decided to go there. She is so glad that she made that decision! Hellenic College is a very special place, and I am blessed to be apart of it.
Anthony Ruggerio is in his first year at Holy Cross starting his MDiv studies after graduating from the college this past May. This will be his second year working with the ambassadors. He has spent many years as an acolyte adviser at his church growing up as well as helping with VCS and Goya. He spent this past summer working at the Metropolis of Boston Camp and is now involved with the admin team at MBC.
Catherine Katinas is a senior in Hellenic College, studying Human Development. She is from Norwood, Massachusetts, although she has also lived in Texas, Tenessee, New Hampshire, and Kansas. After enjoying time as a camper at Camp Emmanuel and the Metropolis of Boston Camp, she serves as a staff member at both of them, holding them very dear to her heart!
Catherine is currently the choir director at St. Catherine's Greek Orthodox Church in Braintree, MA, where she also assists with several of their youth programs. Catherine is looking forward to her second year in the Ambassador program!
Sam Williams is in his final year as a Master of Divinity student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. This is his second year working with the Sonia Belcher Ambassadors. Born and raised outside of Richmond, Virginia, he studied International Affairs and Spanish at James Madison University where he graduated in 2009. Before coming to Holy Cross, he worked for a year in community development with the Latino community in Philadelphia, PA.
During his time at college, Sam was actively engaged in Orthodox Christian Fellowship where he served as the chapter’s president for three years. During his time with OCF, he cultivated a love for service through traveling abroad on several short term mission trips. In 2012, he spent a month in Kolkata, India working with Indian youth through the local Orthodox Church. He has worked at the Jamestown 4H camp, the Boston Metropolis winter and family camp and Camp Good Shepard in New Jersey. Sam is interested in engaging young people on topics important to them, learning from them and discussing our God who is calling all of us into a stronger relationship with Him and one other.
Chris Shadid is a senior seminarian at Holy Cross. He has worked at the Antiochian Village for the past 6 summers, 3 as counselor and 3 as head male counselor, and this past summer he was a counselor at Camp Transfiguration in Ontario, Canada. He was also very active in SOYO and has helped with Special Olympics. Chris has led and been a part of several retreats in the past few years. This is his second year as an Ambassador, and as they say here in Boston, he is "wicked" excited to get stahhted!
Ted Cherpas is from Cleveland, Ohio. He is currently a student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. This will be Ted's second year working with the Sonia Belcher Ambassadors Program. Ted has extensive experience with various youth ministries; specifically, he worked for CrossRoad in 2011, and he served as a co-director at Camp Nazareth this past summer. Ted is excited and honored to work as an ambassador once again this year.
Alyssa Loutsion was born and raised in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. She is a second year student at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology pursuing a Master of Divinity, enabling her to follow her passion in Youth Ministry. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies concentrating in Childhood and Adolescents.
Alyssa has been a staff member at Camp Nazareth, the Metropolis of Boston Camp, and Ionian Village for various summer camps and retreats over the past 5 years. She spent this past year as a GOYA Advisor and Sunday School teacher at the Annunciation parish in the Woburn, Massachusetts. Alyssa is very thankful for her many experiences with our Orthodox Youth and would love to thank them for inspiring her to attend the seminary with aspirations to continue such rewarding work.
Michael Kallis is a Religious Studies graduate from Hellenic College. He was born and raised in Livonia, Michigan. He is currently in his second year of Graduate School at Holy Cross in the MDiv program. Michael’s youth ministry experience includes directing Orthodox Life at the Metropolis of Detroit Summer Camp, working at various retreats at the Metropolis of Boston Camp, and directing GOYA..
Danielle is a Master of Divinity student at Holy Cross School of Theology and graduate of the University of Vermont with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. She has been a counselor at the Direct Archdiocesan District’s Camp Saint Paul, GOYA advisor at the Cathedral of Saint Paul in Hempstead, NY, a counselor at Ionian Village, and staff for CrossRoad. Her studies at Holy Cross allow for the cultivation of viable experience and Orthodox education, leading toward the path of pastoral counseling. She is eager to serve with the Sonia Belcher Ambassadors and to witness the shared experience of young Orthodox Christians growing and preparing for a life in Christ.
Sampson Kasapakis is a Second year student in the Masters of Divinity Program at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. He was born in Chicago, Illinois and eventually moved to Sarasota, Florida. He graduated from the University of Central Florida (in Orlando, FL) with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with minors in Chemistry and Biology.
While in his undergraduate program and currently to this day, Sampson has been very involved in Youth Ministries. Sampson is involved with teaching at Sunday School, being a GOYA advisor and working with HOPE/JOY, and spending his summers at Saint Stephen's Camp. Sampson enjoys being able to help the youth of our church build a stronger relationship with God.
Sophia Kon is in her final year at Hellenic College. She will be graduating this Spring (2013) with a degree in Human Development with a minor in Elementary Education. She has lived in Boston her entire life, and hopes to remain working in Boston after graduation. She has worked at a Day Care Center every summer throughout high school and college, as well as attending the My Life in Christ Bulgarian Orthodox Youth Conference, first as a camper, and now as a staff member. The past two summers Sophia has been a counselor at the Metropolis of Boston Camp in Contoocook, NH, as well as a co-director of the Vacation Church School at St. Catherine's Church in Braintree. During the school year she is a Sunday School teacher at St. Catherine's as well. Sophia has had so many amazing experiences throughout her years attending camps, as she loves working with the youth of the church today. She is very excited to represent Hellenic College Holy Cross and have many more amazing experiences as an Ambassador.
Thomas Manuel is a "PK" whose father serves at St. Nicholas, Virginia Beach Parish. He went to undergrad at James Madison University where he completed a double major in Spanish language and International Politics with a minor in Latin American studies. He has two sisters and a brother. Thomas loves football, "Go Steelers!", and played a lot in high school and almost in college but could not due to shoulder surgery. Thomas reads a ton in his spare time, mostly history and theology but also a lot for pleasure.
Most of his experience with youth work comes through camp. Thomas went to Camp Nazareth in the Pittsburgh Metropolis since he was 6 and counseled there for 5 years. His last year there, he also acted as the assistant director, which gave him a lot of administrative experience. This past year of camp, Thomas also helped as the assistant director at Camp Good Sheppard with the New Jersey Metropolis. In undergrad, he was involved in his OCF as well, and acted as its president in his last year of school. Thomas has worked with his church's vacation church school and this last year in Somerville, he had a Sunday School class for the first time, which he viewed as a very good learning experience.
Alexis Campbell is a junior at Hellenic College. She is currently studying in the Literature and History program and has experience teaching and coaching elementary and middle school age children. She has two years of camp counseling experience thus far, as well as teaching both children and adults on a mission trip in Kenya. Alexis enjoys photography and studio art, sports, and cappuccinos! She is energetic, reliable, and patient, and is very excited to be an ambassador this year!