GOYA leader gains second national victory in religious competition

Picture 2Last week the Rockland County Times reported that Christina Hanos, 17, from West Nyack, won the national Saint John Chrysostom Annual Oratorical Festival in 2016 for the second time in three years. Hanos previously won the Greek Orthodox Church-sponsored award in 2014 during her sophomore year of high school.

So how did Hanos gain recognition over so many other youths not once, but twice?

Although speech memorization is not a requirement of the contest, she feels doing so makes her a better speaker, and credits part of her success to it. She practices her speech for hours and hours to perfect the memorization and inflection of her voice.

She prides herself in her ability to make her speeches relatable for the audience. “It’s not just talking about miracles,” Hanos said. “It’s better when people can relate to what you’re saying.”

Hanos has always been gifted with speech. When she was younger she was an actress in Burger King commercials and episodes of Sesame Street. She believes her strong public speaking skills extend from these experiences.

“That whole thing where you’re in front of strangers all the time and in front of the camera, it really gets you prepared to speak in front of people,” she said.

The church describes the festival as an “annual Archdiocesan program that gives teenagers an opportunity to learn, write, and speak about their Orthodox faith, church, and heritage. This strengthens their understanding and appreciation of their identity as Greek Orthodox Christians, and cultivates spiritual growth and maturity.”

Hanos progressed through several stages on her way to national victory, earning a $2,000 college scholarship in the final round. Hanos is a member of the Saint Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church in West Nyack where she spends a lot of time volunteering and helping others. She is also this year’s president of the GOYA youth group.

According to Christina, when she was growing up her Hanos family went to church every Sunday and it’s something that has really stuck with her as she has gotten older. In addition to her religion, Hanos is very involved in sports being a three-sport varsity athlete at Clarkstown South High School and a member of the jazz band.

Hanos prides herself in academics and is an AP and high honors student. She spent her senior year as part of the BOCES New Visions honors medical program, spending half of her day doing medical work either in a classroom setting or doing clinical rotations at a hospital.

Hanos will be starting a seven-year medical program in the fall with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and University of Albany Medical College.

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