If you are at all familiar with our local new stations, you probably know who Kopi Sotiropulos is. He’s on Fox, Channel 26, as a cohost of Great Day. I think when people are on TV, we automatically think of them as celebrities. I think of Kopi as a celebrity, not because he’s on TV, but because he’s done so much for our community.
I started watching Kopi back in 2000, when I moved back to Fresno (after a 4 year stint in Northern, and then Southern California). My husband at the time liked watching him. We both thought he was a character. We’d laugh with him, and talked about him like he was an old friend. It wasn’t until after my daughter was born was I able to meet him. He came to film a local event I was part of. I remember seeing him in real life for the first time, and I’m pretty sure I thought he was a big movie star, not just a weatherman. Turns out he’s a normal, everyday guy, mixed with some enthusiasm and passion.
Since that first time meeting Kopi, I’ve seen him many more times. I see him driving around town, I’ve seen him at my children’s school (where one of his own children went), at zoo events, at the Greekfest, and just recently at my work!
This week Kopi came by to see the Summer Academy program that Reading and Beyond holds at Parc Grove Commons. Literacy is one of our focuses at Reading and Beyond, and our goal this summer is to help prevent the summer slide, as well as increase students’ reading levels. So, when Kopi came to our site, he spoke about how important it is to read. He explained that you have to be able to read to do your homework, to get good grades, to get into college, which will all lead to getting a good job.
After that Kopi then read The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by, Jon Scieszka. (Funny book if you’ve never read it.) The way Kopi spoke and read to the children just made me smile. He has a way of connecting with the students. He was patient with them, answering all of their questions. He explained how the green screen works when telling the weather, and he even told us what KMPH stood for. (K is because a long time ago stations that were West of the Mississippi River had a K in front of it, those East of the Mississippi had a W in front of it. MPH stands for Mike, Pete, and Harry Pappas, brothers who started the station.)
During the visit, Kopi shared with us all a little bit about himself. (Check out his full bio here. Did you know he was an actor in Hollywood? I had no idea!) When Kopi was little, he came to the United States from Greece. He went to school at Fremont Elementary, where he knew no English. He said he would walk around, not knowing anything anyone was saying. But you know what he did? He SMILED! He said that’s the way to make friends. He really encouraged the students and related well to them. He has an energy about him that would honestly make him a great teacher.
The children just loved Kopi. His passion for the children in our community is what makes him stand out. He’s willing to drive to areas of the Valley to help educate children. He’ll make a stop at a local school for a classroom visit. He supports the children of FresYes, and all of its surrounding areas.
With that, I encourage you, that if you ever run into Kopi around town-stop and say hi! If you see him at the Greekfest, reach out and greet him. If you’d like him to speak to your classroom, email him at KSotiropulos@kmph.com. For myself, next time I see him, I’m going to thank him for all he’s done for the children of FresYes!