Greek Dancing for Diversity: All Saints Grammar (ASG) Celebrates Oxi Day

Dancing for Diversity: All Saints Grammar (ASG) Celebrates Oxi Day

On October 28th, All Saints Grammar (ASG), an Orthodox school spanning from PreKinder to Year 12, commemorated OXI Day – a significant event for Greek communities globally. OXI Day is observed not only in Greece and Cyprus but also within Greek communities worldwide, marking Greece's resolute refusal to surrender to Axis powers during World War II.

The celebrations at All Saints Grammar in Belmore, Australia, highlighted the school's enduring commitment to preserving Greek cultural traditions within a modern and inclusive educational environment.  The day began with a Doxology Service at the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church, led by parish priests, Father Christos and Father Dimitrios. This service served as a memorial for the men and women who lost their lives during World War II while fighting for Greece's freedom.

Official guests in attendance included Chair of the Board of Directors at ASG, Mr. Ulysses Ntoumbos; The Head of School, Mrs. Elfa Lillis; Kallie Englezos from the Ladies Auxiliary of All Saints Parish; Steven Mavrakis from the Belmore Youth Group; and Vasiliki Fotiadou from the All Saints Parish Afternoon Schools. The day's events included a wreath-laying ceremony followed by a minute of silence, and ASG students recited poems in both Greek and English.

One of the high points of the day was ASG students dressed in traditional costumes, showcasing their talents with a Greek dancing performance. These cultural performances play a crucial role in connecting with the Greek community and promoting inclusivity within the school's diverse student body.

During an exclusive interview with Greek City Times, Head of School, Mrs. Elfa Lillis, emphasised the significance of OXI Day celebrations at ASG and their role in preserving Greek cultural traditions within a contemporary educational setting.

"OXI Day celebrations at All Saints Grammar are significant for preserving Greek cultural traditions in a contemporary educational setting. These events immerse students in Greek culture, reflect on historical struggles, and integrate into the curriculum through Modern Greek and Orthodoxy lessons,” says Mrs. Lillis.

Mrs. Lillis explained the significant role that the official guests played in engaging with the wider Greek community, saying, "These guests contribute to the School's engagement with the wider Greek community by bringing diverse perspectives and experiences, fostering a sense of togetherness and respect for diversity."

Furthermore, she noted the importance of cultural performances in connecting with the Greek community and promoting inclusivity, saying, “The spiritual connection to our Orthodox Faith and Culture is at the core of our philosophy. Cultural performances, like the Greek dancing performed by students on OXI Day, showcase their talents and hold a vital role in strengthening the bonds between All Saints Grammar and the Greek community while promoting inclusivity within the School's diverse student body."

All Saints Grammar takes pride in being a 21st-century school that caters to the needs of young Greek Orthodox students while maintaining an inclusive environment that welcomes students from diverse backgrounds. The school's commitment to preserving its Hellenic heritage while staying connected to contemporary Greece reflects the modern Australian ethos of celebrating diversity and ethnic backgrounds.

Addressing the school's commitment to preserving Greek traditions while embracing diversity, Mrs. Lillis noted, "At All Saints Grammar, we are committed to creating and sustaining an educational environment where we promote cultural, social, and spiritual connection, providing students with a sense of belonging that enhances their identity development."

Mrs. Lillis discussed the evolution of All Saints Grammar since its founding in 1990, emphasising the school's dedication to supporting families in instilling Hellenic values and the Orthodox Christian faith in the next generation.

At All Saints Grammar, the school's Greek calendar is filled with events that immerse students in religion, culture, and history. Notable occasions include Τριώδιο-Απόκριες (season preceding Lent), Καθαρά Δευτέρα (Clean Monday), Ευαγγελισμός της Θεοτόκου (Annunciation of the Theotokos), which coincides with Greek Independence Day (25η Μαρτίου), Πάσχα (Greek Easter), Η Μάχη της Κρήτης (Battle of Crete), All Saints Day, Η Κοίμησις της Θεοτόκου (Dormition of the Theotokos), and OXI Day (28 October).

Students at ASG learn about these events through Modern Greek and Orthodoxy lessons, often organising special presentations at the ASG Gymnasium or during Friday assemblies. Modern Greek, taught up to Year 8, provides students with a strong foundation in language skills and a deeper understanding of Hellenic culture. The lessons aim to cultivate religious and cultural awareness through practical, immersive experiences. These lessons go beyond words, fostering a profound understanding of the interconnectedness of faith, language, and culture.

All Saints Grammar is dedicated to preparing each student for a global future. They nurture and encourage students to flourish and grow with a ‘Wellbeing for Learning’ approach, ensuring that learners are equipped to serve the world. The school is firmly committed to aiding families in preserving and passing on their heritage, with a strong foundation in Hellenic culture and the Orthodox Christian faith. The school's educational philosophy emphasises four key elements:

Intellectual Rigour: The deliberate design of challenging and relevant learning experiences to equip students with skills needed for a globalised and unpredictable future.

Character Values: Actively engaging with parents and the broader community to instil core ethical values in students, fostering a sense of social responsibility and a commitment to contributing to a better world.

Emotional Balance: Creating deliberate opportunities for students to develop self-confidence and a positive, self-reflective mindset, enabling them to engage with and overcome challenges.

Cultural, Social, and Spiritual Connection: Purposefully providing opportunities for students to understand the value of connectedness, promoting a sense of belonging, and enhancing their identity development.

With the school's educational philosophy in mind, it's evident that All Saints Grammar's dedication to maintaining Greek traditions seamlessly extends to their vibrant OXI Day commemoration.  All Saints Grammar's OXI Day celebrations showcase the school's dedication to preserving Greek traditions and fostering inclusivity in a modern educational environment. By immersing students in Greek culture, celebrating historical events, and embracing diversity, ASG continues to shape the lives of its students while connecting with the broader Greek community.

To learn more visit the All Saints Grammar website.

Read also Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's Oxi Day Message to the Greek Community

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