Twenty years ago, Stella emigrated from Greece to the United States and started a family. After developing an interest in teaching, she began working with children from pre-K to 5th grade. After her husband passed away, Stella was forced to find a second job to support and raise their children on her own. Despite the financial struggle made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stella is intent upon furthering her education to better assist the special needs students she works with in her current role as a paraprofessional with the NYC Department of Education. Eventually, she hopes to earn a master’s degree in Disability Studies.


“With this award I will continue to make education and service to children my top priority.
Additionally, I have the opportunity to acquire my bachelor’s degree in Disability Studies and this will be a lifetime dream that will finally come true.” – Stella Karagiorgaki