The Immigrec project fascinated our yiayias and papous.
The May 24th presentation of the Immigrec project will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the most important and moving activities ever organized by the Socrates-Demosthenes School for the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal. The organization of the event was impeccable and our students dazzled us. What we saw was priceless: young people aware of their direct history and their place in the general history of this country.
The Immigrec project details the wave of Greek immigrants from the 1940s to the 1970s, the journey of our parents and grandparents, their economic and political challenges, their childhoods lived in Greece, and the unknown that Montreal represented at the beginning of their new life. It was a Homeric epic that continues today: it is now also a heartfelt for the students and their teachers at the Socrates-Demosthenes School … and their grandparents, as illustrated here. below.
In collaboration with McGill University, our Greek teachers encouraged their students to explore the story of their grandparents and their immigration to Canada.
McGill’s students, teachers and distinguished collaborators shared their impressions of their work during this exceptional project.
Through their captivating lyrics, songs, dances, and theater, students in Grades 5 and 6 of each Socrates-Demosthenes campus interpreted what their grandparents’ journey meant to them: hope, fear, love, and life in Canada.
In the Québec Room of the Adrian-Maris Hellenic Community Center, there were objects from the past: passports, identity cards, suitcases, photos, boarding passes, dolls… Detailed accounts of travel from all parts of Greece to Halifax and then to Montreal were displayed in every corner of the room.
What was obvious was that, by boat or plane, our grandparents and parents persevered through turbulent times to come and make a living for themselves and for us here in Montreal.
The President of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal took the floor to thank and congratulate the students, loudly explaining how much he admired what he had seen and appreciated its importance. Also present were the campus directorates, Zoi Batsis, CHGM Secretary of Education, Aliki Daher, CHGM Secretary of Complementary Education, Tassos Xipolitakis, Chair of the CHGM Fundraising Committee and Mary Deros, advisor to the City of Montreal.
We owe all we have as a community to these people and we have all been privileged to honor them in this way!
This project required the collaboration of a crowd of people whom we wish to warmly thank:
First and foremost, our students and their generous grandparents who got involved body and soul in this adventure.
The Greek teachers of the Socrates-Demosthenes School: led by Evagelia Tsalkidou in collaboration with Eirini Tourkomanoli, Emilia Kriparakou, Theodosia Vaxevani, Frances Liontaris, Dimitris Ntomatas, Eleni Dracopoulou, Ilias Bardouniotis and Eleni Tourkochoriti.
The team from McGill University, including Tassos Anastassiadis, Alexandra Siotou and Caroline Boreham. The latter also acted as mistress of ceremonies during the event.
School directors: Georgia Tsakalis, Chris Filandrianos, Diane Trudel, Ghislaine Langlois and Chris Katiforis.
The artists: Peter Plarinos, pianist, Kosta Kalavriziotis video producer, Mediterannean Music, as well as our favorite photographer, Harry Babaroutsis.
And, to conclude, our computer expert, Jean-François Brunet and the conductor of the event: Maria Roussis.
The Director General’s speech
The Director General of the Socrates-Demosthenes School opened the evening with a well-felt speech that we reproduce here:
Chers invités distingués, chers amis, chers collègues et, surtout, chers élèves.
Bienvenue à la présentation du projet Immigrec, une réalisation tout à fait spéciale de l’École Socrates-Démosthène de la Communauté hellénique du Grand Montréal et de l’Université McGill.
Υπάρχει ένα ρητό που λέει: « Για να πάει κάποιος μπροστά πρέπει να ξέρει από που προέρχεται ».
The collaborative effort involving our third-generation students and their grandparents, under the guidance and leadership of McGill University’s Greek Studies Department exemplifies this principle.
Aristote a un jour dit : « Savoir, c’est se souvenir. » L’École Socrates-Démosthène existe pour semer et faire croître le savoir dans la vie de ses élèves. Immigrec a permis à ceux-ci d’acquérir un autre savoir par les souvenirs de leurs yiayias et de leurs papous. Les enfants ont ainsi découvert avec fascination comment l’Histoire du monde commence, à la base, par l’histoire des individus formant leurs familles.
L’École et le projet se sont complétés à merveille, mettant en lumière l’importance de l’histoire de toutes ces personnes immigrantes qui ont joué un rôle notable dans la vie de la communauté grecque et dans l’évolution de Montréal et du Québec.
C’est dans cet esprit que nous avons décidé de modifier dès que possible notre programme grec de 5e année afin d’y inclure un volet sur l’histoire des immigrants grecs au Québec. Il s’agit là de l’un des nombreux résultats d’un projet comme Immigrec.
As a result of this project, our Greek Program will forever be enriched as it will include Greek History in Québec. And Greek History in Québec will finally be archived for future generations to appreciate.
Et maintenant, place aux jeunes!