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General News

St. Thomas Hellenic School Commemorates 1821 and the Feast of the Annunciation

CHERRY HILL, NJ – The St. Thomas Hellenic School students and families gathered on March 23 to commemorate the start of the War of Greek Independence of 1821 and the Feast of the Annunciation.  The program began with the students entering with the flags and singing the Greek and U.S. National Anthems as well as the Akathist Hymn.

Presiding priest of St. Thomas Greek Orthodox Church in Cherry Hill, the Very Reverend Archimandrite Fr. Avgoustinos Psomas began the program with a prayer and then discussed the religious significance of the Annunciation, emphasizing its importance in the Orthodox Christian faith and its connection to the Greek culture and identity. He inspired the parents and grandparents with our forefather’s achievements and reminded everyone of the responsibilities they have inherited from those who gave their all.  He stressed the importance of parents speaking Greek at home to their children and teaching their children to recognize and develop their religious and cultural identities.

Principal Margarita Zografos Vrettos welcomed the Hellenic School families and spoke about the significance of schools and families actively promoting and preserving our freedom, religion, and heritage. For 400 years our forefathers preserved religion, language, and traditions and now it is our responsibility to pass it on to future generations.

The St. Thomas Hellenic School commemorated the start of the War of Greek Independence of 1821 and the Feast of the Annunciation. Photo: Steve Lambrou

The keynote speaker, St. Thomas Parish Council President Anastasios Efstratiades, highlighted key heroes and heroines of the war giving examples of their generosity and contributions to the fight for freedom. He noted the historical significance of Greek Independence Day while fostering a sense of pride and appreciation for those whose courage, sacrifice and determination secured our freedom.

The highlight of the afternoon was the performances of the students. Children in PreK through 6th grade presented songs, poems, and plays that reflected the spirit of Greek independence and resilience and instilled a sense of national pride among the audience. The pride, love, and respect with which the students presented was obvious and can be directly attributed to the educators who work wholeheartedly and tirelessly to pass on the Hellenic language and values to their classes.

The program ended with students showcasing traditional dances from various areas of Greece organized by their dance teacher George Kleftogiannis.

The PTO graciously offered everyone in attendance Lenten treats at the end of the celebration. Long live Greece!

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