by Ada Leivada
Celebrating Greece… Celebrating Greek Independence Day online… What does it mean? How does it really work?
Throughout my time working at The Greek Online School, I never quite found the way to convey what these online celebrations with our students truly mean to us.
And celebrating 200 years of Greek independence made the ecelebrations all the more special…
“Yes, sure, I can try to describe the format of an online celebration.”
Yes, sure, I can try to describe the format of an online celebration. I can give you all the technicalities behind it. Tell you, for example, that for the 25th of March Celebration, we give our students speeches, poems and songs and we prepare them all together in class before they present them to the whole school on the day of the event.
I could tell you that on the day of the event teachers, students, parents of various backgrounds, levels of Greek, ages and places of the world connect to celebrate Greece and honour its history.
I could tell you that our students get to meet other children of Greek heritage from places they have never even heard of.
I could tell you that they applaud one another and they play Greek online games together.
I could tell you that they all leave having spoken Greek and with a big smile on their faces.
“They invite their Greek grandpa so that he can get the chance to hear them recite their poem, hear them read about Greek history”
But how could I ever explain what we feel when they switch on their cameras and we see that they have decorated their backgrounds with Greek flags and pictures of the fallen heroes of 1821?
How could I ever explain what we feel when they invite their Greek grandpa so that he can get the chance to hear them recite their poem, hear them read about Greek history?
How could I ever explain what we feel when we see the tears on his face after hearing his grandchildren speak in Greek and be such active members of a Greek community, albeit online?
“The main message and reason behind our online Greek celebrations is that of peace and friendship between all people”
How could I explain the importance of the messages we get from parents after our celebrations when we realise how grateful all these people are for their children’s opportunity to experience all the parts of a Greek School and for their close contact with Hellenic culture and language?
How could I ever describe our pride to hear students who started with us as beginners not only speak Greek, but understand every word of the poems or speeches they read?
How could I convey our pride as educators when we realize that our students have understood that the main message and reason behind our online Greek celebrations is that of peace and friendship between all people of this planet?
I don’t think I could ever do these moments justice by trying to describe them.
I can only cherish them and consider myself lucky to be able to experience them. To be part of an online community of Greeks and Philhellenes who not only love Greece but also “take care” of everything it stands for in a way that mirrors the ideas behind the people who fought for it 200 years ago…
I believe you must experience it, too. Here is a small taste…