New Greek School Scholarship announced in honour of the late Bill Gonis in SA

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The Greek Orthodox Community of South Australia’s (GOCSA) Language Schools held its Annual Dance on Saturday, September 9, at Adelaide’s Olympic Hall, with over 300 people in attendance.

Among them were a number of special guests including, Member for Badcoe, Jayne Stinson, representing the Premier Peter Malinauskas; Deputy Leader of the SA Liberal Party, The Hon John Gardner MP and Community Languages Schools of SA (CLSSA) Executive Officer, Brett Shuttleworth.

Official guests.

This year the theme of the major event was ‘Greek Song and Dance’ to showcase the important role of community schools and how the Greek language and culture continue to contribute to the state’s multicultural character.

“For 93 years, our organisation has been teaching the new generations of children the Greek language,” said GOCSA President, Peter Gardiakos and thanked Schools Coordinator Ms Himo Tsakalos and her team for their hard work, the parents for their dedication and the sponsors and volunteers for their contribution.

There were over 300 people in attendance at the GOCSA Language Schools Annual Dance.

During his speech, Mr Gardiakos invited to the stage Vice President, Peter Gonis, to announce the new ‘Gonis Gardiakos Greek School Scholarship’ in honour of GOCSA’s late President Bill Gonis OAM, who passed away unexpectedly last year.

“I’m incredibly proud that the community, through the generosity of Mr Gardiakos, announced a Gonis Gardiakos Greek School Scholarship in honour of my late Father,” Vice President of GOCSA, Peter Gonis said.

“My two girls started learning Greek this year at one of our community language schools and as parents we always want what is best for our children; through this scholarship program it will help keep our heritage, culture and language alive,” he concluded.

The scholarship will support one Year 6 and one Year 7 students by paying their fees for five years, in order to encourage them to continue their Greek language Lessons into their high school years.

The announcement was followed by project awards to students Anastasia Giannarakis, Zahra and Manny Koufalas, Alexandra Kotzias, Ambrosia Sabapathy, Aidan and Kayia Koutrikas, presentations, and a performance by GOCSA’s Dance Academy, Greek music and dancing.

Greek dance performance.

Special guest, Ms Stinson said in her address “the Malinauskas Government acknowledges how important it is for children and young people in South Australia to remain connected to their community and culture and to be encouraged to celebrate and proudly share their heritage, language, and traditions with others. Community language schools, such as GOCSA’s, play a vital role in keeping foreign languages alive in our community”.

The Hon John Gardner MP explained that when it comes to investing in language programs there is no Labor or Liberal but bipartisan support, to ensure that the children are given an opportunity to learn and speak the language of their parents and grandparents.

Jayne Stinson, Member for Badcoe.
The Hon John Gardner MP

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