Melbourne’s Oakleigh Grammar officially opened its N P Nikolakakis Centre for Academic Excellence on Sunday, May 7.
The centre was inaugurated in the presence of Archbishop Makarios of Australia; the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil; the Victorian State Minister for Tourism, Sport, Major Events and Creative Industries, Steve Dimopoulos; and the Consul General of Greece in Melbourne, Emmanuel Kakavelakis; among many others.
It was a packed house for the Official Opening ceremony, which kicked off the Oakleigh Community Festival, staged as part of the 60th anniversary of the Greek Orthodox Community of Oakleigh and District and the 40th anniversary of its flagship school Oakleigh Grammar.
Supported by the Victorian State Government, the festival took place on the grounds of Oakleigh Grammar and adjacent streets were closed to traffic to accommodate food stalls and free rides, while there were also events and activities for children, market stalls and live entertainment within the school grounds.
As part of the opening ceremony, Minister Dimopoulos reflected on the importance of education and remarked on Oakleigh Grammar’s excellent facilities and academic offerings, congratulating the school on its extraordinary achievements.
Oakleigh Grammar Principal, Mark Robertson, expressed gratitude to the State Government for its generous $1.5 million contribution to building the N P Nikolakakis Centre for Academic Excellence. He also thanked and congratulated the school’s many stakeholders and Mr Dimopoulos for their unwavering support.
John Nikolakakis of Nikpol spoke about the family’s decision to sponsor the new building as a way of honouring his late parents Nick and Poly, who were outstanding and inspiring role models for their family and community.
His hope is that, through the sponsorship of the N P Nikolakakis Centre for Academic Excellence, it will help to provide the infrastructure and support for Oakleigh Grammar students to further grow and develop to face challenges and stay ahead.
“Our parents were strong advocates for the Oakleigh Community and School, and always emphasised the importance of a good education,” Mr Nikolakakis said.
Oakleigh Grammar Board Chairman, Chris Damatopoulos, then unveiled four paintings commissioned by the community. In his emotional address he expressed his gratitude to the community and said the event was a way of giving back to the vibrant and supportive wider community.
In the lead up to the official opening ceremony, Archbishop Makarios presided over Sunday liturgy at Sts Anargiri Church.
*All photos copyright: Kosta Deves.