2019 Scholarship Recipient

Zoie Orth

My Family’s History on Kythera

     My name is Zoie Orth and I am 17 years old. My parents are Stephanie and Michael Orth and we live in Redwood City. On June seventh of this year, I graduated from Woodside High School as a valedictorian and a member of the California Scholarship Federation, receiving a seal of biliteracy in Latin. This fall I will be attending the University of California, Santa Barbara as a freshman. I am currently undeclared, intending to study in their College of Letters and Science. I am so excited to begin college this fall and continue my academic career.

     I have been attending meetings of the Kytherian Society of California since I was in elementary school, with my mother, and my Yiayia and Papou, Cathy and Ted Zamenes, who have been active members of the society for many years. I am so glad that my grandparents have encouraged me to attend the Kytherian Society’s meetings because they allow me to connect with friends and family that I rarely see outside of these annual events, and to stay informed about current events and our relationship to the island. My Greek heritage has always been very important to me, and this society has provided my family and me with an amazing way to maintain a connection with both our history and our relatives.

     Both of my great-great-grandparents on my mother’s side were born on the island of Kythera. My great-great-grandfather, Yianni Alfieris, was born in Potamos in 1883, and my great-great-grandmother Marigo Chlentzos was born Christoforianika in 1882. As teenagers, they fell in love and immigrated to Alexandria, Egypt, in 1903, where they were married and had two children. One of these two children was my great-grandmother, Spyrithoula. Three years later, in 1906, Yianni left his wife and children and set off to America. Once he had established himself, his family joined him in San Francisco, where together they had five more children. Like many immigrants at this time, they struggled, especially through the years of the depression, but with their devotion to hard work and preserving their Greek heritage, they were able to build and maintain a strong family connection and an inclusive community from which many people, myself included, have benefitted greatly. It was with this spirit of community and family that Yianni Alfieris, and my Papou’s uncle, Harry Alfieris, along with numerous other individuals of Kytherian descent, founded the Kytherian Society of California. 

     Almost 70 years later, so many of my family members are still active members of the Kytherian Society, which is what makes going to each meeting especially exciting, because it is a constant reminder of my own connection to the island of Kythera.

     In the next few days, I will be traveling to Greece with my family for the first time in my life. Having heard so many wonderful stories of the adventures of others on the island, I am extremely excited to create my own memories to share.

     I am so grateful for the opportunity to be considered as a potential recipient of this award, and I look forward to attending future meetings of the society.

2019-9-29  KSOCA Panigyri - 69

Stephani Orth accepting the award certificate for her daughter Zoie.

Orth Zoie Athens

Zoie In Athens - 2019

Orth Family Greece

Orth Family in Greece - 2019

Orth Zoie Acropolis

Zoie at the Acropolis - 2019

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2018 Kytherian Panigyri

Mary Holton, Ewan Reid, Alex Holton, Christopher Mattis and Zoie Orth


2017 Kytherian Panigyri

Cynthia Mattis, Stephanie & Zoie Orth

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2013 Kytherian Panigyri

Cousins: Julie Reid, Deme & Peter Karoutas, Jamie Fraioli, Alex Alfieris, 
Cynthia Mattis, Stephanie & Zoie Orth, and Ewan Reid.

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2013 Kytherian Panigyri

Cathy & Ted Zamenes, Stephanie Orth, Cynthia Mattis, and Zoie Orth in front.

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2012 Kytherian Panigyri

Stephanie and Zoie Orth, Ted Zamenes, & Harry Alfier

 Su   © KSOCA 2012