After 2 years in lockdown, we have to admit that 2022 was a great year for The Greek Online School. Mainly because it gave us the opportunity to meet so many of you in person after such a long time.
What is now “last year,” 2022, got off to a great start last January, when we traveled to Orlando, Florida to represent our School at the Hellenic Dance Festival organized by the metropolis of Atlanta. After 2 years of staying at home and not being able to travel, visiting the US and meeting our students there simply felt incredible. Traditional Greek costumes, children dancing Greek dances and keeping Hellenism and Greece alive in the US was such a moving experience for us. The dancers were excellent and the Greek parties they organized there were simply put … very very Greek.
February 2022 was equally busy and equally unforgettable. Last February we launched the Greek Language League, an educational project for the Greek language that won a V.I. Award by the Hellenic Initiative in December 2021 for its innovation, promise and potential. The GLL, which is a championship we created with games on the Greek language, culture, history, geography and more, started with 4 teams consisting of 30 students from all over Europe. The championship had 2 arenas, coaches, training weeks and game weeks. We started with the group phase and continued with the semi-finals, the final and bronze-medal game. Team SPIRTA won and their trophy was the Greek Language Summer Camp! The GLL was one of the most memorable moments we have had as educators. We imagined the progress that children would have with the language and this was the thinking behind the creation of this League. But to actually see students who barely spoke any Greek, understand it and produce simple sentences by taking part in the games in 5-6 weeks was just incredibly special for all of us. This project and its amazing results was presented by our School Director in Athens in June 2022 at the conference of corporate responsibility by Boussias. We were so happy to be invited there and included among great Greek companies and their amazing work.
In 2022 the Greek language summer programs of The Greek Online School also received state recognition by the Hellenic Republic. The Greek Language Summer Camp for children and the Greek Immersion Course for adults received the auspices of the General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad & Public Diplomacy and of the Ministry of Tourism. This recognition was a great honor for us and really helped in managing to bring more than 100 people to Greece in summer 2022 to study Greek in our programs.
Which actually brings us to summer 2022. We started with the Immersion Course for adults in Spetses. The course took place at the historic Anargyreios & Korgialeneios School of Spetses. 35 adults traveled to Greece all the way to Spetses to study in our 9-day intensive program of Greek. And intensive it was! Greek classes in the boarding school classrooms in the morning, cooking classes, dance classes, bike ride tours, island cruises, treasure hunts and Greek parties in the evening. Lots of beach time in between, Greek food and talks of Greek history and culture in this breathtaking island which means so much to Greeks and the history of our country. I could try to explain the moments we lived in Spetses along with these 35 students that trusted us with their vacation and language learning. But I will not succeed in conveying the actual experience. I will just say that the Spetses class of 2022 have already booked their place for the Greek Immersion Course 2023 and cannot wait to return back to Spetses and what has now become THEIR Greek school in Greece.
The Greek Language Summer Camp for children was equally successful. It took place in two periods in July and August at the Ranch in Corinth. We welcomed more than 70 children in total, the majority of whom were from Europe and North America. Our little Greek campers attended their morning classes, learned Greek dances, they went rock climbing, horseback riding, they swam, they had archery classes, and they participated in all the camp activities with enthusiasm and excitement. The Greek Online School campers made sure to impress their team leaders with how fast they adjusted to camp life and quickly became their communities’ favorite campers! We cannot begin to describe how proud they all made us.
So this is why it was a bit bittersweet for us saying goodbye to 2022 which treated us so well and filled us with joy and new experiences with our students. But we are more than hopeful that 2023 will be even better. In 2023 we will go back to the US at the HDF 2023 festival in Atlanta. This will be the year that we will visit our students and the Greek communities of Australia for the first time in February. It will be the year that we expand our collaboration with the University of Patras with some very exciting projects that will help us take Greek language learning a step further. And of course it will be the year and we will return to our summer programs in Spetses and the Ranch with even more hours of Greek language and culture, and even more people who will travel to Greece to combine learning with an unforgettable summer holiday.
Welcome 2023! We already like you! Happy New Year!