GCM schools celebrate Greek Independence Day with an emotionally charged ceremony

With a simple but emotional ceremony, the Greek language and culture schools of the Greek community in Melbourne celebrated the anniversary 201 years since the start of Greece’s war of independence at Bentleigh Secondary College.

Students from GCM schools along with distinguished guests and members of the wider community commemorated the 25th of March with a wreath-laying ceremony followed by speeches in honor of the fallen heroes of Greece and others who fought for their freedom, a privilege so valuable today .

“I have a great sense of pride in my heritage,” said Harry Shardey, a 12-year-old student at Bentleigh Secondary College.

“The part of my family that immigrated is a true example of what it means to be a migrant, their success in their field and personal characteristics symbolize what it means to be Australian and is a testament to their ability to adopt a new way of life, “he added.

“I asked Pappou Papadopoulos what March 25 meant to him, and his answer was this, March 25 means freedom. Freedom for all.”

Sir. Dimitris Linardos spoke to the esteemed guests and students of the school on behalf of the Greek Consul, Mr Emmanouil Kakavelakis, Greek, who was unable to attend the event due to COVID-19.

Deputy Adviser on Education, Dr. Georgia Nikolaidou; Chairman of the Bentleigh School Council, Andrew Clarke, and Chairman of the GCM Education Committee, Dr. Nick Dallas, who was also present, enjoyed meaningful performances by the students in Greek.

The students planted olive trees symbolizing glory and peace, forming a peace sign with white flowers before a shadow theater show featuring the legendary Karagiozis.

In the light of current affairs, the President of the Greek Society, Bill Papastergiadi’s OAM, said that “Being part of a multicultural country means that we all have a strong connection to other nations by respecting their history and culture.”

“One hundred Greek Australians fought in World War I, 2,500 Greek Australians fought in World War II and 17.00 Australians went to Greece to support an ally in World War II. A deep connection represented here today,” Mr Papastergiadis concluded.

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