The inspiration behind the phrase “twice as nice” can be traced back to Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher of the Classical period. On February 19, 2024, AHEPA Chapter 69 and the Daughters of Penelope Nike #230 of Cherry Hill, NJ, welcomed the community to their rendition of Plato’s Academy of Hellenism in the Delaware Valley and beyond.

AHEPA has been hosting this tournament globally for years in various districts worldwide. The tournament challenges high school teams, sponsored by AHEPA chapters, in Hellenic History across three categories: Ancient, Byzantine, and Modern Hellenic History. This “Jeopardy” style tournament encourages young adults to delve into their history, with scholarship funds awarded to the winning and runner-up teams. The winners from AHEPA tournaments worldwide advance to a championship, usually held at the Supreme Convention, for additional scholarships and the coveted champion title.

In the morning, high school students from New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Delaware gathered at the Danielle Kousoulis Center at Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church for the annual AHEPA Hellenic History Tournament. Local chapters and AHEPA and Daughters of Penelope District 5 lodges passionately supported the ten teams from the area.

AHEPA 5 Governor John Koninis and Daughters District 5 Governor Kelly Papachristos welcomed the teams during an introductory breakfast opening session. Hellenic History tournament chair Steve Marmarou and AHEPA director of Education Cosmas Diamantis outlined the tournament rules and revealed the first-round draws. AHEPA Supreme Governor Demetrios Rozanitis greeted the crowd, including participants’ families and observers.

Representing AHEPA Supreme President Savas Tsivicos, Demetrios Rozanitis acknowledged the previous year’s winning team, which participated in the AHEPA Global finals in Las Vegas. They expressed gratitude to the major sponsors, particularly the Rentschler Foundation and AHEPA District 5 lodge.
The championship took place on an impressive large theater screen set up for the upcoming movie premiere. The winning team, named “The Aphrodites” and sponsored by AHEPA’s Garden State chapter in Holmdel, NJ, will compete in AHEPA’s global final this summer.

The evening event featured a special guest appearance from Anna Rezan, whose film “My People” had its Delaware Valley premiere. Anna addressed the students, congratulating them, urging them to cherish their roots, and encouraging them to dream big.

Anna Rezan, an actress, musician, and high fashion model shared her feature documentary debut, “My People.” The film, produced by Anna Rezan, Zaf Haitidis, and Academy Award winners Mitchel Block & Kim Magnusson, is up for an Academy Award Oscar nomination. Executive Producer Victor Restis, Grand Sponsor Bella Restis, and the Macias Restis Foundation were thanked for making the film possible.

“My People” tells the story of the Greek Jews during the Holocaust, the Axis occupation, the Greek resistance, and the role of the Greek Orthodox clergy. The film is a hymn to love and courage, discovered by a young woman in her quest to uncover her Greek Jewish family’s history.

After the showing of “My People,” Anna Rezan received a standing ovation. AHEPA Supreme President George Horiates congratulated her and thanked her for offering this unique program to the community. He suggested reaching out to Anna for additional showings in the Greek and Jewish communities.

The event concluded with a question-and-answer session, during which the Presiding Priest of Saint Thomas Greek Orthodox Church, the V. Rev. Archimandrite Augustinos Psomas, welcomed Anna to the community. Honorary Consul of Panama in Philadelphia, Georgia Athanasopulos, and Philadelphia’s diplomatic corps members congratulated Anna on her work. Moshe Matsa, a Greek Jew Holocaust survivor, emotionally shared parts of his own story in English and Greek, leaving not a dry eye in the hall.