Years on Staff: 2008, 2009, 2014, 2015
Where you live: I currently live in Phoenix, Arizona, where I moved during the summer of 2011 to join the Teach For America Corps. I currently teach Algebra and Geometry to 6th, 7th, and 8th graders, where we are striving everyday to reshape the future of STEM. At the current moment, careers and opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are accessible to a disconcertingly narrow subset of our population. In these fields more than most, minorities and women are underrepresented to a staggering degree, and we strive for our students to be a force in deconstructing that opportunity gap. In addition, because the majority of the students I have had the privilege to teach are first-generation college students, my friends and I from the Antiochian Village, Camp St. Nicholas, Camp St. Raphael, Camp Transfiguration, Camp St. Thekla, Camp Nazereth, Camp St. Paul, and Ionian Village created a one-week college access summer camp based off of the Antiochian Village program for my former students in high school. The camp, Camp Catanese, is providing my students with the opportunity to have the same love and joy that we all experienced at AV! This year we have 220 campers and an Orthodox staff of over 50! Check us out at https://campcatanese.com/.
A favorite camp memory: There are too many favorite memories of camp but I will try and pick two. The first is when Chris Shadid and I were counselors of Chalet 4 and we had an epic night of kidnapping Cabin 48’s Full Value Contract, a volleyball named Wilson. The second is more serious and it is seeing my boys of Cabin 31 hike this past summer. I have loved watching them grow into amazing young men over the last eight years.
How the time you spent at AV continues to shape your life today: If I was never a Counselor at Antiochian Village, I never would have found my passion for teaching and working with youth. Everyday in my classroom, I make up lyrics to songs on the radio and relate it to math (Serenade Night comes in handy), create fun games to learn material (being Evening Program Coordinator has helped tremendously), and spend time ensuring every student feels loved (like all of our counselors did for us). I guess you can say that my time at Antiochian Village was the single most impactful moments of my life and I thank God that we have such a beautiful place where Christ’s love is present and contagious in every person and activity.
Published March 2017