NEW YORK – Two graduation ceremonies will be held online with the participation of the Archbishop Elpidophoros of America on Saturday, June 6, by the Day and Afternoon Greek schools of the Direct Archdiocesan District.
As the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Director of the Department of Greek Education, Anastasios Koularmanis, told The National Herald, the ceremonies will take place through the Zoom platform, but there will be an open live broadcast on social networks, so that parents, relatives and friends can watch.
“The Archbishop attends the graduations of the schools every year. This year would be the first time for Archbishop Elpidoforos and he did not want the children to miss this opportunity. He wanted a graduation ceremony. We don't know if the schools will organize their own, separate events, but we will also organize our own, which will be central,” said Koularmanis.
In particular, day schools will be connected from 12 noon-1:30 PM, while the afternoon schools from 2-3:30 PM. For the day schools, the Valedictorian speech of each school will be made online and then the principals will read out one by one the names of the graduating students. For the afternoon schools, only the principals will speak, mentioning the names of the children graduating.
“The Archbishop did not want the children to leave without saying goodbye,” Koularmanis added.
Questions for next year
The coronavirus pandemic and questions about whether or not schools will reopen their gates, combined with the financial scourge that many households have suffered – with the Greek community being no exception – have raised concerns about the community schools next year.
Koularmanis emphasizes that the budget of each school and how the communities will move forward financially will be determined by the school boards, which know the people and situations better. Nevertheless, a broad contact will be established with the Office of the Director of Greek Education of the Archdiocese, in order to discuss the common issues of concern for the Greek schools.
“We want to hold a meeting with the school board presidents and the priests. Let's talk about the situation and how they are going to deal with it. It is important that we all come together, exchange views and ideas on how each school will move forward. As for September, the city has not even said what will happen. If we open up, we have to think about how to do it. We cannot, for example, put 30 children in the same room. There should be a strategy on how to solve these problems,” said the Director of Greek Education.
According to Koularmanis, there are concerns that there will be some students unable to return for financial reasons, as parents have a loss of income and may cut back on private education. He emphasizes, of course, that if schools do re-open, a school with smaller class size than the public schools will clearly be safer for their child's health when an illness such as COVID-19 is circulating.