"VOULA-MELBOURNE Building Bridges across Continents"
by His Excellency Mr John Griffin, Australian Ambassador to Greece
Guests were greeted by the Principal of the school Dr Maria Kaskadami and Mrs Christina Despoteris who brought the two schools together.
Representatives of the Students' Council welcomed the special guests in the foyer of the school and presented some flowers to the Ambassador. Guests were then led to the library where students from B3 (Year 8) were assembled.
In her introductory remarks, Dr Kaskadami said, "We are honored, privileged and very proud to have with us today His Excellency the Australian Ambassador Mr John Griffin to launch the second phase of our e-School Twinning Project - Building Bridges across Continents with Alphington Grammar School in Melbourne"
"This project has assisted our students to become more aware of their cultural identity, create new relationships and share thoughts, concerns and feelings, improve their English and Greek writing skills and learn and use new technologies." Dr Kaskadami continued.
"We are proud of what we have achieved in the last two years, culminating in the visit to Voula, only last month, of the students from Alphington Grammar who were involved in the project. Thank you Mr Mayor for your contribution to the visit." Dr Kaskadami added.
Dr Kaskadami indicated that this was a "once in a lifetime" opportunity and that students should make the most of it.
Mrs Ioanna Gardiki, the Vice Principal and Co-ordinator of the project, who was the MC for the event, then introduced the Mayor Mr Grigoris Kostantellos. He in turn, congratulated the school and said how proud he was that such a project was conducted within his municipality. He added that this type of communication, electronic, was the thing of the future. More and more activities and operations will be conducted in this manner. He said that he had visited Melbourne several times and that it was a beautiful city. Finally he wished the students well for the project.
A video presentation of the local area then followed.
Also in attendance, albeit via Skype from Melbourne's Alphington Grammar School, Mrs Toula Terezaki, Greek Teacher responsible for the project spoke of her and her students recent visit to Greece and how proud they were in participating in the project which gave them this opportunity. Mrs Terezaki said, "Students have made new friends, exchanged experiences, mingled, played and ate with each other. This project gives the students the chance to practice their mother tongue, learn more about each others culture and traditions."
In launching the second phase of this project, Mr Griffin stressed the importance of such programs which bring together students from across the globe to work together, to talk to each other, to express their interests, aspirations and concerns, thus creating international relationships. He continued by saying that the students of today will be the leaders of tomorrow. The stronger the bonds and relationships they make and the more knowledge they acquire, will determine the type of leaders they will become. The Ambassador congratulated all those involved and then officially launched the project.
Mrs Angeliki Methodiou, the English Teacher who also participates in this project, co-ordinated the spontaneous questions which the students asked the Ambassador. The questions covered some very interesting topics such as: places to visit; national days and other days of significance; customs and traditions; popular foods; way of life; ancient languages; history, including the Anzac connection to Greece to name a few. The Ambassador was impressed with the range of questions and responded to them in a very detailed manner.
The event concluded with the exchange of gifts.
Lemnos Gallipoli Commemorative Committee