The Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) came alive in a vibrant celebration, honouring the exceptional accomplishments of the Higher VCE Achievers, of the wider Greek community (or Greek heritage), in a night filled with joy and inspiration.
The atmosphere at the Greek Centre was charged with excitement and an electrifying buzz as families, friends, community members and a delegation of the GCM Board of Directors gathered to applaud the academic excellence of the young achievers and to honour their outstanding accomplishments. The collective spirit of support and encouragement was palpable, creating an atmosphere where aspirations were kindled, and dreams were given wings.
The inspiring event, showcasing the dedication and hard work of these talent individuals, commenced with Mr. Odysseas Kripotos delivering welcoming remarks as he hosted the proceedings of the night.
The GCM President, Bill Papastergiadis, OAM, opened his speech by quoting parts from Prof. Nick Papastergiadis’, heartfelt and motivating article, named “on not being an idiot”, encouraging the students to continue pursuing excellence and emphasizing the importance of education in shaping a brighter future.
“Let us now look over the school fence and see what the rest of the world can offer. Education begins in asking the question why, and learning is about how you learn to follow those blind leads. These little moments can seem trivial, obscure, and idle, but they are turning points. Staying connected to people who share your values and turning thoughts inside out has been the most valuable lesson in my life.”
Mr Papastergiadis then directed his comments to the students and said “These awards are a momentous occasion, highlighting not only the individual accomplishments of the students, but also the collaborative efforts of educators and parents, who play pivotal roles in shaping the educational landscape. Continue to engage with the Greek Community, become members, attend our events, volunteer for projects. Your achievements reflect not only your personal dedication, but also the strength of our community. You are the ambassadors of Hellenic excellence, our future educators, you are the future of the Greek community. You are the people that will drive change and continue to regenerate our community, and contribute to this great multicultural city that we live in. Become a citizen of the world”.
The moving speech by Consul General, Emmanuel Kakavelakis, deeply resonated with the audience. With fervour, he delivered an inspiring address, urging students to persist in their pursuit of excellence. He extended heartfelt congratulations to all the students for their achievements, underscoring the significance of education in safeguarding cultural heritage. His words had a profound effect on everyone present, instilling a renewed sense of purpose and determination.
The Consul General remarked, “This is the beginning of a journey for life. Set goals with persistence and patience to achieve them. Navigate with ‘philotimo,’ a code to respect yourself and others, and defend what you love. The democracy in which you were born and raised is not a given, nor eternal. Read the classical authors, explore poetry and theatre. Find a quote that inspires you. Afterall It’s cool to be Greek!”
Following the speeches, the esteemed GCM Board Members of Management presented certificates of excellence. The GCM Head of the Educational Programs, Dr. Nick Dallas stated “It is a very moving event, acknowledging those students of Greek background who excelled at VCE. Let’s hope this recognition acts as a catalyst for these students to develop closer ties with the GCM as they are the successor generation.”
The number of students was extremely high this year which shows their tremendous efforts, combined with the support of the teachers and their families. The GCM awarded a total of 15 students, who had a score above 40 and sat the lesson of Modern Greek. A raw score of 35 in Classical Greek achieved only by one student and more than 80 students who had a score above 47 in any of their unit 3+4 subjects received an excellence award.
A key highlight of the evening was the recognition of the student, Alexander Petro Georgiou from Melbourne Grammar School, who achieved a perfect score in three of his unit 3+4 subjects. He was presented with a special award, a round ticket to Greece, generously sponsored by the GCM Vice President, Mr. Micheal Karamitos who said, “It is truly inspiring to witness the passion and determination of these young minds. We hope to empower them to pursue further knowledge and excellence in their respective fields. This gesture reflects the community’s commitment to nurturing and celebrating the academic achievements of our youth.”
The night concluded with a sense of accomplishment and unity as the community celebrated the achievements of its young scholars.