2020 Elle Scandalios

2020 Scholarship Recipient

Elle Scandalios

My Famiy History on Kythera

     My mother’s side of the family is from Kythera. It is lucious, green and much bigger than the island my father’s side of the family is from: Nisyros. I have visited Kythera twice and have relatives that live there now. My great-great-grandfather was born on the island and immigrated to America in 1906 (the biggest Greek immigration movement was to America in the 20’s). Although his family went through Egypt and landed in New York, they ended up settling in Oakland. My great grandfather joined the army and even helped liberate Auschwitz. Although he died before I was born, my grandmother tells me that he is the reason why she is so proud of and connected to our Greek history. Clearly the pride of our ancestry runs in the family.

     I have always been extremely proud of my Greek heritage and have bragged about it since I was very young. My friends joke that I would introduce myself saying “Hi, my name is Elle Scandalios, I’m Greek!” My bedtime stories as a child were always different Greek Myths, so at recess I would play “Greek Gods” with my friends and pretend that I was Athena (the Goddess of wisdom and battle strategy). For as long as I can remember, being Greek was the part of my identity of whichI was most proud. It’s sense of community is where my pride stems from and why everyone seems to be related. There is a Greek word “philótimo”and it is a uniquely Greek concept and social glue which loosely means “the love of being honorable and acting honorably,’' and it is one reason why I feel so proud and lucky to be of Greek descent.

     My family travels a lot and I can confidently say that Kythera is the most beautiful and special place I’ve ever been. I feel so at home when I am debating what restaurant to eat dinner at with my family, or when I am spending countless hours reading and swimming at the beach. After spending an entire month on Kythera, I gained a stronger sense of love and respect for Greece. The Kytherian people are so welcoming and loving, I couldn’t have felt more at home. The passion that my family has for our ancestry has provided me with several opportunities to visit Kythera, learn how to cook/bake my favorite Greek dishes, and learn about my heritage extensively. At home I am able to stay connected with my Greek identity by learning as many recipes as I can, continuing to learn about my ancestors, and hearing stories about how my Kyhterian relatives lived.

     I do not wish to lose the Greekness of my identity. While I am at college, I will be focused on school and having fun, but I am confident that I will make time to remember the place and people I love so much. I have been fortunate enough to travel to Greece four times in my young life, and I will make sure I go back. I feel such a strong and enticing sense of home and belonging when I am in Greece, and I have promised myself not to let go and forget about that as I take such important steps into my future. 

Scandalios Elle grad2

Scandalios in AP

Scandalios Family: Chase, Elle, Anna, Kelly & JP - Agia Pelagia, 2018


Extended Family Dinner in Agia Pelagia, Kythera, 2018


Hiking down to the Magic Green Pool, 2018

 Su   © KSOCA 2012