“They do not care for the paideia of the omogeneia”.
This painful observation is not news probably to any one , however, coming from Mr. Andreas Dracopoulos, the Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is of particular importance.
First of all, the mere fact that people of Mr. Dracopoulos’ stature are sending their children to a Greek school, and offer to help in any way they can, shatters the impression that has been cultivated for years that our Community’s educational system, and therefore, the Greek language, is irrelevant to us.
Some say, “we live in America. We don’t need this” – but here comes Mr. Dracopoulos to put things in their proper place in the clearest, most bluntly-spoken way possible: “without the Greek language, there is no Greek education… When there is no Greek language, the Greek soul is lost. If our language is lost, we will be ‘devoured’. It is ironic that we see other countries trying to imitate and acquire Greek Learning, and we who have it are indifferent…”
Thi is one of the most important interviews ever given on Education in our Community, and our ethnic identity. An interview that deserves to be required reading for students, parents, teachers, clergy, and school committee leaders. Here, and in Greece as well.
Yes, “if our language is lost, we will be devoured.”
Mr. Dracopoulos’ interest is not limited to big words. On the contrary, no one else in the history of the Community has offered to contribute more to upgrading Greek education than he, both as an individual and as the leader of one of the most important philanthropic institutions in the world.
What we did,” at the school of St. Demetrios in Astoria” he said,, was not only to offer financial aid, but also to provide for the proper facilities, to open and connect the school with a superior educational environment – but the plan was crushed from within.”
Thus, a historical opportunity for the Community to acquire a noteworthy educational institution was lost.
But let’s see the interview of Mr. Dracopoulos for what it is: as an expression of his concerns, but also of his desire that we not be “devoured.”
And let’s take advantage of this, seeing it as a second chance. Let’s set up an Special Multi-Generational Education Committee, with the participation of experts, the church and other knowledgeable about Greek-America from coast to coast, in order to draw up a strategy and blueprint for Community Education for the 21st century.
Let’s not miss this opportunity…