Creating Dreamers and Doers: Theno 'Kristo' Pantelides
Theno “Kristo” Pantelides grew up in the hilly city of San Francisco, surrounded by ocean. A coastline not unlike the home of his father, where houses dot the shores of thousands of islands in a country influential in ancient times.
Pantelides’ first words were Greek and he looked to his papáki̱s, Konstantine, for guidance at an early age. “Nothing worth doing is ever easy,” the senior Pantelides would often tell his son, a miracle baby right from the start.
The family moved to Canton when Pantelides was 5 because his father wanted to be closer to the community where his family immigrated. Today, he works as a dentist in Alliance, treating the underinsured.
“My father had a realization, ‘I have to give back to the society that gave my family a home and a chance,’” Pantelides said. “He was so grateful for the opportunity to have this life in America.”
But it wasn’t without difficulties. Arriving in the United States speaking no English, his father was made fun of in school. He didn’t want that for his son.
“I was homeschooled,” Pantelides said. “I learned so much, but missed out on extracurriculars and ‘top of the class’ accolades. When I was thinking about how I was going to structure my life after school, I didn’t think I was cut out for college.”
Then, he found Kent State University at Stark.
As Stark County’s only public university, Kent State Stark is open enrollment, providing all residents the opportunity to obtain a university education.
“Everyone has a chance, and I can never truly repay the openness that Kent State Stark has shown me,” he said. “To give me that opportunity to prove myself when I believed I couldn’t, this university showed me that I could.”
This 23-year-old has worked hard to meet the demands of university study, while juggling part-time employment.
As a student tutor in the Academic Success Center, Pantelides found a way to follow his father’s example.
“I’ve tried to give back and repay the help that I’ve received from so many,” he said. “I’m not at the tutoring center because I immediately succeeded, it is because I struggled and I overcame.”
Now, this double major in business management and marketing is set to graduate, but not before he sees the home of his ancestors. This summer, Pantelides will study abroad in Greece.
From one milestone to the next. But the road wasn’t always easy, as Pantelides knows nothing worth doing ever is.