Remembering Georgia Vlahos
Remembering those who spent their lives transforming the lives of others is always bittersweet. So it is with heavy hearts and countless sweet memories that we honor and remember Georgia Vlahos—a teacher, friend and mentor to generations of SJND colleagues and students. Georgia passed away on Friday, August 15 at home. Through teaching, speech coaching, directing and counseling, Georgia was a woman of unmatched character, kindness, and zest for life.
Reflecting on Georgia’s legacy, former principal Tony Aiello shared, “Her influence goes beyond words and lodges deep in our hearts, thoughts, and very beings. Anyone who knew Georgia or met her can never forget her.”
Indeed, in 2006, upon her retirement from SJND after 38 years of service, alumni shared their memories in Update. Toby Anderson ’85 shared that she was “Unique, always a breath of fresh air. She had a way of exposing her beliefs and her stream of consciousness in a way that let students know her and respond to her. She would sometimes finish her sentences with a couple notes from a song. She was incredibly cheerful.”
Anne Stainback 88, who works for Emory University and is a freelance stage manager said, “Were it not for my experiences with Ms. Vlahos I would not be doing what I do today.”
Principal Simon Chiu shared, “I never had the opportunity to work with Georgia, but anyone who knew or met her could easily recognize the very special character and quality she brought to our school and our alumni. We are so thankful for her contributions and the positive, lasting memories she has given so many of us.”
This week, in honor of the extraordinary Georgia Vlahos, we invite you to share your memories of Georgia on our Facebook page, to tweet them @sjndpilots, or to email them to our communications director Lisa Lomba ’88.
Update: Services were held for Georgia August 21 and August 22 at the Greek Orthodox Cathedral of the Ascension at 4700 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland.
At Georgia’s request, donations in her memory will be designated to Saint Joseph Notre Dame High School’s endowment fund in support of tuition assistance. If you are interested in giving to the Georgia Vlahos Endowment Fund, in support of the performing arts, please contact Rebecca Bischoff.
REMEMBRANCES FROM FRIENDS
"Ms. Vlahos was my coach for speech and then drama back in 1976-78. She inspired us with her wisdom, compassion and joyful spirit. She sparked our imaginations and gave us confidence to pursue our dreams." - Colleen O'Connor, alumna
"When facing the dreaded public speaking challenges in her Speech class, we could always count on Miss Vlahos. In a single look or nod from the back of class, she could convey her own sense of humor, assurance and calmness. She always projected such warmth, energy and boundless enthusiasm. She will be missed, but her legacy will live on." -Jim Conway ’75
"I spent one semester with Ms. Vlahos Freshman year back in 1971. I can honestly say that lessons I learned led to my ability to speak in front of others, teach effectively, and to my advancement throughout my career. We may never use some of the information we learn in school, but public speaking was instrumental to my life." -Kevin Nieland, alumnus
"What an experience! I will never forget Ms. Vlahos’ invaluable instruction that first year when she had us in Speech pounding the Lectern with rolled up newspaper as we spoke each word of our assignment. L-O-U-D and enunciated with PASSION! That's Miss Vlahos in a nutshell....passionate about her craft and teaching. She was a breath of fresh air, a mix of safely rebellious and flower child who created fun, inspiring classes." -Sharon Rourke Flores ‘69
"Ms. Vlahos was a whimsical drama teacher who encouraged and inspired us to "Be or Not to Be." She will forever be in our hearts." – Timothy DeGrano ’83 and Gia Quintero ’83 DeGrano
"Because our backyards are so 'neighboring' I’d check in and make sure the kids weren’t too loud in the backyard. She’d just smile her dazzling, joyful smile and assure me, 'Thank you for sharing your children with me.' The boys loved when Georgia would invite us over impromptu to her cozy kitchen. She’d share Greek sayings with them, serve them biscotti, tea and milk, while Georgia and I shared an afternoon nip and neighborhood news. Everyone was happy—OPA!" -Pauline, Galen, Holden, Marco and Luca Guilbert, neighbors
"Both of our daughters, Kristyn '92 and Alison '97, had Miss Vlahos as their teacher. Both of them felt a sense of loss. She was a most vibrant person who radiated warmth to so many." -Yvonne and Les Temple, alumni parents