Honorary Auction Chairs
Pete and Alkaterini Kakouras Announced as O’Neal Honorary Auction Chairs
O’Neal is pleased to announce Pete and Alkaterini Kakouras as Honorary Auction Chairs for this year’s Annual Auction. Their son, Andreas is in O’Neal’s eighth grade.
“We thank the School for the privilege of being Honorary Auction Chairs,” says Pete. “I didn’t expect such an honor and I’m speechless. What I give, I do from my heart, for the kids and the School. There’s a lot more people who do more than I do.”
On August 29, 1974, a 17-year old Pete Kakouras landed at JFK Airport to start a new chapter in his life, - right by himself. Though Greek, his mother was from Australia. “She was classic in her beliefs,” says Pete. “You know, when the pioneers used to say ‘Go west, there’s gold there, a better life awaits you’? That was how my mother thought about America.” Pete became a citizen within a few years. “You hear people complain, but they don’t realize just how great this country is. They need to go live somewhere else for six months to a year to better understand what they have.”
Pete went to live with his aunt in Virginia and attended high school. Half of his day was in the Humanities and Independent Studies program, comparable to an academically gifted program and the other half of the day was learning English. “I really enjoyed this time,” says Pete. “I learned so much and there would be trips to Washington DC. It was a unique program. Then I had to quit.” After learning that his family was making the move to America, Pete left his school to earn money in preparation for their arrival. He moved to Lancaster, PA and worked as a line cook in a restaurant for $3/hour 100 hours a week. “I had to work!” he exclaims. After a few years of learning the ropes, he decided he had to have his own restaurant. Only five years after arriving in the states, on May 1, 1977, Pete opened Manor Plaza. Then he opened Kakouras – a high end steak and seafood offering. Stone Mill –a family diner, was establishment #3.
In 1986 Pete sold his restaurants to his family and moved south to Santee Cooper, SC where he opened Georgios’ House of Pizza. In the mid-1990’s Pete was informed about a great location for a restaurant in downtown Robbins, NC. He moved to Robbins and opened Carolina Fried Chicken. Pete’s Family Restaurant in Carthage followed many years later. He runs each of the restaurants alongside his two older sons Yani and Kosta and Pete’s wife, Alkaterini. It is a true family affair.
“I would always drive by O’Neal and admire the curbside appeal,” reflects Pete. “I knew it was the best school in the area. It was a dream of mine to have my children attend O’Neal, but my two sons were grown. Then I remarried and we had Andreas. Though, early on, we kept him in school in Robbins to be closer to him, my dream finally came true when we enrolled Andreas in O’Neal.”
Pete and Alkaterini moved their son Andreas to O’Neal when he was entering the fourth grade, four years ago. “It is amazing!” exclaims Pete. “His (Andreas’) mentality, speech, and way of thinking all changed. He dreams big.” He continues, “For many, you only have one chance to get an education and you need to get the best you can get.”
Pete has been a strong steward of O’Neal as he has provided food for the School’s Field Day, the Booster Club Homecoming dinners, the Science Olympiad Invitational tournament, the Women in Sports luncheon and more. He is a donor to the “Please Be Seated” campaign where a bench is named for his family in the Landmark Garden. He is also a repeat business sponsor for the Annual Auction.
“I am happy to have the opportunity to be asked to be a part of this family and help the School,” says Pete. “It’s a unique feeling. I’ve been around the world a few times and Moore County itself has embraced me.” Pete helps to support the schools in North Moore County and he is also the #1 sponsor for Farmers Day in Robbins.
The Annual Auction is O’Neal’s largest fundraising event that supports the annual operating budget of the School. 350 Auction tickets will be available this year, and the event will feature live and silent auctions, raffles, cocktails and a seated dinner. The community is invited to attend the Auction. Tickets can now be purchased online. Please go to www.ONealSchool.org for more information.
Serving students from Pre-K3 to Grade 12, The O’Neal School is a college preparatory independent school located in the Sandhills of North Carolina. The School has dual accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). 100% of its seniors graduate and are accepted to colleges and universities throughout the nation.