Phoebos Apollon M. Bolaris Scholarship

A Plato Academy Scholarship fund in the name of alumnus Phoebos Apollon M. Bolaris has been created. Current and prospective students can apply by completing the scholarship application and returning it to the office during school hours or via mail.

Donations may be sent directly to Plato Academy (733 Lee Street, Des Plaines, IL 60016) identifying “Phoebos Apollon M. Bolaris Scholarship” in the memo.

Mourning the tragic loss of our esteemed and beloved alumnus, Phoebos Apollon Bolaris.

Phoebos was going to receive his Master’s Degree in Politics and Economics of Eurasia from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations on Saturday. The Bolaris Family is a part of the Plato Academy family and we are all devastated by the loss of this, brilliant, handsome, and vibrant young man! There are no words to describe our extreme sadness and grief. Rest in peace beautiful boy!

 Author Unknown
Do not judge a biography by it’s length,
Nor by the number of pages in it.
Judge it by the richness of it’s contents
Sometimes those unfinished are among the most poignant
Do not judge a song by it’s duration
Nor by the number of it’s notes
Judge it by the way it touches and lifts the soul Sometimes those unfinished are among the most beautiful And when something has enriched your life
And when it’s melody lingers on in your heart
Is it unfinished?
Or is it endless?
Phoebos Apollon Miltiades Bolaris, 26, loving son of Miltiades and Louiza; dearest brother of Alcaeos, Hephestion, and Kimon. A cancer survivor by the age of 14, Phoebos had a brilliant mind with an insatiable intellect. As a student of Plato Academy, he developed a love for history, geography, literature, culture and politics. He knew Modern and Classical Greek, Latin, Sanskrit, French, Persian, Russian and English. He received a B.A. in Classics (Greek concentration) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (May 2015) and an M.A. in Politics and Economics of Eurasia from the Moscow State Institute of International Relations (June 2017). His Master’s dissertation was on “Russian Foreign Energy Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Gas Factor.” A dual citizen of the U.S. and Greece, and a free-thinking and adventurous spirit, he loved to travel and had been to Brazil, China, Canada, Bulgaria, Germany, Kazhakhstan, Kyrgizstan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and throughout Russia, the USA, Cyprus and Greece. Those he met adored him and he cherished his friends. He loved Greece, its people, its culture, and Hellenism. He had recently proposed to the love of his life, Daria Proklyushina. Visitation Monday, June 26, 2017, from 10 a.m. until time of Funeral service 11 a.m. at St John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church 2350 E. Dempster St., Des Plaines, IL., Interment will follow to Ridgewood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory to Plato Academy appreciated. Info: 847-581-0536.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on June 25, 2017
Phoebos Apollon Bolaris’ eulogy was written by his brothers, cousins and father and it was read by his youngest brother Kimon Bolaris at the Greek Orthodox Church of Saint John the Baptist of Des Plaines, Illinois, at noon, of June 26, 2017.
Ο επικήδειος λόγος του Φοίβου Απόλλωνα, γράφτηκε από κοινού από τα αδέλφια, ξαδέλφια και τον πατέρα του, και διαβάστηκε από τον μικρότερο αδελφό του Κίμωνα, στην Ελληνορθόδοξη εκκλησία του Αγίου Ιωάννου στο Des Plaines, Illinois, το μεσημέρι της Δευτέρας 26 Ιουνίου 2017.
Панегирик Феба Аполлона, написанной совместно братьями, кузенами и его отца, и прочитал его младший брат Кимон, греческой православной церкви Святого Иоанна в Дес-Плейнс, штат Иллинойс, в полдень в понедельник, 26 июня 2017 года.
Making the lifetime achievements of an adventurous young man fit into a few sentences is an unfair and impossible task.
Phoebos means the illuminated one, someone full of light: from Φώς.
The name chosen for him, Phoebos Apollon, was a divine one, a solar name, full of the glow of Helios, the sun of Greece. When he was a child it actually took a few years of convincing him before he actually accepted the fact that he was not the God Apollo himself – he just had his name.
As a child, Phoebos was torn between supreme self confidence and immobilizing self doubt. Understanding himself and the world around him was not easy for him. He had to struggle uphill, day by day, bit by bit, trait by trait, one thing at a time, to analyse and understand the basic mechanics of human interaction and how he would fit into the greater group.
One wonderful characteristic of him was his insatiable curiosity. Barely a toddler, he had learned each and every dinosaur that ever lived, and he would line them up and play with them, teaching what he knew to me and my brothers, and of course fighting with us, as four boys living under the same roof are supposed to do, at the same time.
Phoebos was always curious about the world, about society and about people. As a boy, he used to pore over maps and Atlases of the world and commit them to memory, capable of naming the capital of each and every country, their population, the ethnic and linguistic make up and the religions of their people, accurately enumeration statistics and percentages. Geography was just the beginning. He loved history. He could recite the history of the French revolution, or the events in Czechoslovakia during the Second World War. He could describe how Africa was divided during the Age of Imperialism or how the Sultan of Oman on the Arab peninsula ended up establishing his capital in Zanzibar, Africa.
He would study the history of languages and the people that spoke them. But his passion for history was never purely intellectual. It was always tinged with a sense of justice, an idea that the world could be molded, improved and structured for the benefit of all society.
When cancer struck him, at the age of thirteen, he was unable and too weak to go to school regularly, spending time undergoing chemotherapy. He used his time home alone working on a grand philosophical project : Going beyond Utopia, and creating the detailed road-map for an “Eu-topia” – the perfect government for organizing the whole world: A testament to his love for those around him. He worked this in full detail, one draft after another, discussing and improving his ideal, imaginary society in every revision.
It was not then by chance that when time came for Phoebos Apollon to apply to a University, that he initially chose a double major in History and Philosophy.
Frequent summer vacations to Greece and trips to archaeological sites made him more aware of Greek history and culture, which along with his schooling at Plato Academy, shaped his own Hellenic identity.
Before he entered his teens he had already traveled many times to Greece but also to Brazil, Mexico and Puerto Rico and finally China. Traveling opened Phoebos’ mind to even more thirst for deeper knowledge and an open mind in understanding the world. Phoebos was brave in his pursuit of new experiences, and bold in his intellectual endeavors. Having learned French in his four years in High School, he took up Russian during his Freshman year in Loyola University and Ancient Greek in his sophomore year. His love for the language of Homer and Plato led him to transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and to a new major: The Classics. It was time for him to study not only Greek, modern and Ancient but also the languages of Ancient Rome and India, Latin and Sanskrit, followed by two semesters of Farsi/Persian. He wanted to know all the world that Greece had touched and then beyond.
His interest in History was only matched by his thirst for current international events. He followed what was happening anywhere in Europe, Eurasia and the middle East, most closely monitoring events in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus.
In a way, his interest in history and politics was a reflection of his love of humanity, and as such he cared little about many of the lesser fads and trends of the day.
Phoebos cared little about what others thought about him. Always paving his own path and rarely straying from it. He dressed simply and casually, for comfort. While most teens stop riding scooters at the age of 14, Phoebos continued to do so well into his college years at the University of Illinois, insisting that it was the best method of getting around campus. But he had his limits too. Upon hearing the suggestion that if he wanted to practice both Russian and Persian, the only place in the world where he could do that would be the Central Asian Republic of Tajikistan, and there is a Fulbright scholarship if he wanted to teach English as a Foreign language…Phoebos retorted: “Baba, what will my friends say? They won’t even ask me WHERE is Tajikistan…they will ask me WHAT is Tajikistan?”
While most people choose practical areas of study, that will land them a comfortable job later on, Phoebos chose to make his own path. The Fulbright Tajikistan idea scapped, when the subject of graduate school came up, the choice was simple: Somewhere in Europe! It came down for Phoebos to choose between two world renowned schools of imperial geopolitics, both of which accepted him: One was the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies / SOAS, and the other one was the Moscow State Institute of International Relations / MGIMO-University. Speaking aloud about the reasons why he chose one over the other, Phoebos came in favor of the more challenging and exotic option: Moscow it was. He didn’t want to lead a normal life. He would perfect his Russian, he would be living in a non English speaking country, very different from what he was used to, and besides, he knew Russian girls would be after him! He craved adventure, and so he moved halfway around the world to Russia to gain new experiences, meet new people, and discover new paths to walk upon.
Two years later Phoebos Apollon had passed his Russian State finals, he had completed his internship at the Carnegie Moscow Center (an American think tank dedicated to the study of Russian society culture and politics) and submited an 85 page Master’s Thesis on “The Russian Foreign Energy Policy in the Eastern Mediterranean – The Gas Factor” which he defended successfuly and received an A. During his stay in Moscow he found every opportunity presented to him to travel and criss cross Russia and Central Asia, visiting Volgograd/Stalingrad, Kazan, Tula, Nizhni Novgorod, Veliki Novgorod, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk in Siberia, Kazhakhstan, Kyrghistan, and finally Crimea with the Ancient Greek and Byzantine antiquities which he loved. His next trip this week was to be in Saint Petersburg, before returning to Chicago the end of June, stopping first for a half day trip to Dubai.
Phoebos’ immediate plans were to work during the summer, in the company of his parents, then take up Fall Semester courses in French language literature and History in the Sorbonne, in Paris, to perfect his French language skills and to experience Parisian life with his brother Alcaeos, who lives and works there. After Christmas he planned to move Iran and take up Spring Semester courses in Persian Language and culture at the Dekhoda Institure of the University of Tehran.
For next year Phoebos considered applying to the American University of Beirut and work towards a second Master’s this one in Middle Eastern Studies, and learn Arabic.
He planned to culminate his studies with a PhD from an Ivy League school, in either History, International Relations, or Political Science. He saw his career as an international energy analyst, as a professor of History and International Relations and an author of issues on Geopolitics.
The thread of life and the dreams of this brilliant mind were cut off shortly by a sudden death in his Moscow apartment, that hit him like a thunderbolt, one day after he had welcomed his mother and his two younger brothers, Hephestion and Kimon who had come along with his uncle Epameinondas and his cousin Ereni, to witness his triumph and graduation. His classmates at from MGIMO University created a memorial for him and celebrated his short but full of intellectual vigor and energy life.
26 years old is young… too young, but in those 26 years our Phoebos experienced more… saw more… and achieved more than most people can dream in a lifetime four times as long, with a smile as wide as his heart, and a laugh as contagious as his love for his friends. But it was not only his own achievements that brought him joy. Whenever anyone around him found success it brought him genuine joy and happiness and he expressed it vividly. It was as if he himself found that success. Phoebos enjoyed sharing his knowledge and travel stories and happiness with others.
With an ever growing intellect and thirst for limitless knowledge, expanding far beyond average contemplation, there was a simplicity and wisdom in his explanations. Whether Phoebos Apollon spoke with you about current foreign affairs in Europe, Russia or the Middle East, intellectual developments in ancient Greece, or simply offering ideas for getting through tough times, there was always a sense of justice, equality and joy in his words.
Phoebos being Phoebos, unique in every respect, he was the epitome of a dichotomy of such mature analytical power, worthy of the philosophical wisdom of a 46 year old sage, living side by side with the light hearted spirit of a carefree 6 year old curious child, that made our 26 year old Phoebos truly beyond compare in this world.
The love of his life, the beautiful Daria Vyacheslavna Proklyushina, could not make it to bid her farewell to Phoebos today, her mother would not allow her to travel in her distress, but her thoughts, lamentations, her love and prayers are here with Phoebos.
You will eternally be with us, αγαπημένε μας Φοίβε!
Η μαμά, ο μπαμπάς, ο Αλκαίος, ο Ηφαιστίων, εγώ και όλοι οι φίλοι και συγγενείς μας, οι Θείοι και τα εξαδέλφια μας και οι παλιοί συμμαθητές σου είμαστε εδώ για να σε αποχαιρετίσουμε και να σου δώσουμε τον τελευταίο, γλυκό μας ασπασμό!
Σε αγαπούμε Φοίβε μας!