NEW YORK – Mareva Grabowski-Mitsotakis, wife of Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, visited the Greek community’s schools in New York on September 25.
In particular, the First Lady of Greece visited St. Demetrios’ Elementary School in Astoria and the William Spiropoulos School at the St. Nicholas community in Flushing, where she was welcomed by the His Eminence Archbishop Elpidophoros of America.
During her visits, Mitsotakis was accompanied by the Deputy Foreign Minister for Hellenes Abroad Antonis Diamataris.
At St. Demetrios Elementary School in Astoria, she was welcomed by His Grace Bishop Apostolos of Medeia, Assistant Principal Betsy Sideris, Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, and St. Demetrios School Board Chairman Nick Andriotis.
The young students greeted her with a bouquet and a banner that read: “St. Demetrios Elementary School welcomes the First Lady of Greece Mrs. Mareva Mitsotakis.” She kissed the children and said she wanted a photo with the banner to put in her office and remember them.
During her tour of the school, Mitsotakis commented positively on a poster at the entrance which said: “I am Greek, I am proud of my country’s culture, my family values, my philotimo, and my background make me grateful every day that I am Greek.”
The Pre-K students greeted the Prime Minister’s wife with the song Kalimera and she applauded the children and spoke with them, asking them their names and viewing their artwork.
“I love children and education and the Greek language is very important,” she said, while teacher Christina Mytilineos-Kyrou told her that “we are trying to spread our traditions, culture, customs, language, and to do our best in this country.”
Mitsotakis then thanked the third grade students who welcomed her with a dance. She asked the children if they went to Greece in the summer and where. She even told them the next time they travel to Greece they should visit her in Athens. In the art department, she spoke to each child individually and commented on their drawings, such as that of a student who had painted something from a war video game: “This game is all killing, it’s scary.”
“In the music department, the children sang Deka Pallikaria, and the Prime Minister’s wife told the children, “you made my day with all these smiles. With all this warm welcome my day is going to be amazing.”
The Prime Minister’s wife then visited the William Spyropoulos School of St. Nicholas in Flushing where she was welcomed by Archbishop Elpidophoros, who had performed the Agiasmos blessing earlier and then toured the school grounds. First, they visited the gym and spoke with Physical Education teacher Apostolos Bacalis who studied in Greece and has been in America for the last three years.
Mitsotakis asked, “do you like it here?”
“Very much. I feel like I’m home, like family,” Bacalis replied.
“That’s the important thing, to feel like you’re with your family. And you’re doing what you love,” Mitsotakis said.
The 8th grade Greek class was Mitsotakis’ next stop. “Today we are studying Plato and the magic of Greek music,” said teacher Peppy Volikas.
The Prime Minister’s wife stressed the importance of language lessons, “Don’t forget the language because it unites us and is our soul, as Seferis used to say. My mom was also from the Greek Diaspora from Egypt. And she said the most important thing she did when she came back to Greece was to never stop speaking Greek. So you are Americans, and you are Greeks, too.”