14 September 2010
Back home in Melbourne following a three week Greek immersion camp in Halkidiki in North Eastern Greece, Year 8 student Crystal Pazianas, described the experience as a great opportunity to see Greece.
It was good to expand my knowledge of the language, by the end of it you’re thinking in Greek, it’s just a good opportunity.
“We got to do lots of different activities, basketball, extreme sports, BMX riding, going to the beach,” she told Neos Kosmos.“We put on a fake Greek wedding and we all had to learn Greek dances and then afterwards we had a big Greek party,” she said.
The experience allowed international students to be exposed to new music and the Greek language, the 14 year old said.
“We spoke Greek the entire time, or most of the time,” she said.
Having attended Greek school since prep, the Pythagoras Greek school student said while she’s not fluent, her grasp of the language is pretty good for her age.
“It was good to expand my knowledge of the language, by the end of it you’re thinking in Greek, it’s just a good opportunity,” she said.
Crystal was also grateful to meet Greeks from all over the world.
“We met people from Canada and America and it was good to see that the same customs are in all the other countries although they might do things differently, the same traditions and values are kept up,” she said.
The young teenager also said she enjoyed making friends with the Greeks from Greece.
“I’ve added heaps of them on Facebook. It was easy to relate to them. We all do the same Greek lessons. It was just fun,” she said.
Principal of Pythagoras Greek School and head of student services at Oakleigh Greek Orthodox College, Con Roubos, who attended the camp with students from both schools, described it as fantastic.
“The kids absolutely had a ball. It was a chance to see things they would never have seen otherwise,” he told Neos Kosmos.
“The program was fantastic, during the day the kids played European handball, soccer and did extreme sports like the flying fox. There was also arts and crafts, clay work, traditional Greek dancing, and Hip Hop dancing,” Mr Roubos said.
The camp included around 500 children, with between 80 and 100 from Cyprus, 50 from the USA, 50 from Canada, 50 from Australia and the rest from Greece.
“They didn’t really change the program for us, we were immersed in their normal program,” Mr Roubos said.
Constantine Roubos, Principal, Pythagoras Greek School, explains to us why going to
Greek school is so important in being a well-rounded student and person.
13 February 2013
As a teacher of VCE Greek, I find very satisfying to be in a position that enables me to work with young Greek Australians daily. Exploring topics such as the
Asia Minor Catastrophe, the 1821 Struggle for Independence, or even themes such as the Environment and Happiness, and preparing my students for their final exams is truly fulfilling and
rewarding. More importantly, assisting the next generation of Greek Australians, which includes my own children, to stay connected with Greece gives me a sense of purpose.
My name is Constantine Roubos and I have been teaching Greek for over fifteen years. To my relatives' and friends' dismay, I actually gave up a profession in dentistry to follow my true passion in teaching. They, obviously, would have preferred inexpensive dental treatment than a cheap Greek School education. Currently, I am the Principal and Year 11 and 12 teacher of the Pythagoras Greek School which is an after-hours language school founded in Melbourne by my father almost 50 years ago.
In Victoria, students may take Greek as a VCE subject in their final secondary years of schooling. There were only 250 or so such students in Victoria last year. Considering Melbourne has the largest Greek Australian population in our nation, this number is exceptionally low.
Some of you may reminisce and dwell on past, pleasant memories of your time at Greek school (maybe your memories are pleasant because you never actually attended Greek school!) As for others, well if you're like me, then I guess flashbacks of teachers hitting your palm with the strap or screaming, "You're going to get a back handed slap to the face," or, of course, striking your knuckles with the ruler, may come to mind. Times, I promise you, have changed. Greek school teachers, I assure you, have evolved.
I want to share with you some of the fantastic learning that occurs in a typical VCE class at Pythagoras Greek School. I would like to illustrate to all readers that Greek schools can play an important role in children's education. I hope that readers not only attain some new insights, but more importantly, encourage siblings, sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, god-children, cousins (you get the picture) to attend Greek school. Even non-Greeks would benefit from attending. The English language contains 25 000 Greek words. There is no better way of improving one's English vocabulary than by learning Greek.
Anyway, let me now take you into the classroom..."What makes you happy?" I raise this question with my students at the start of every year. The responses are quite interesting and varied. The most common replies from students include: family, friends and money.
We then begin our journey into the past and discover that the ancient Greek philosophers searched and contemplated the answer to this adorable, yet frightening question. One philosopher, in fact, not only offered a recipe for happiness, he guaranteed his students complete happiness if they followed a few simple steps. He is one of the lesser known philosophers. His name was Epicurus.
Epicurus, meaning "upon youth", was born in Samos 341 BC and died in Athens 270 AD at 72 years of age. He was the founder of the school of philosophy called Epicureanism. Only a few fragments and letters remain of Epicurus' 300 written works. To summarise his philosophy in a single sentence, Epicurus believed that, "Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life."
What are the first images that spring to mind when you think of pleasure? You might think of a Porsche, an opulent mansion, or limitless money. Imagine you had all three. Would you be happy? Maybe you would. However, it is possible to imagine that a fast car without a friend to show-it-off to would not make you happy; an opulent mansion without the time to enjoy it would not make you happy; and limitless money accompanied by high levels of stress and anxiety and no time to relax or contemplate the good life would also not make you happy.
Not every type of pleasure will lead to happiness (or be sufficient for happiness) in the same way that not every type of medicine will lead to good health. If we assume that Epicurus is right, and that pleasure is indeed the goal of the happy life, then it would seem important to develop a clear understanding of the types of pleasure that will actually lead to happiness.
For Epicurus, the first step towards pleasure was attaining ataraxia; the absence of fear and anxiety. Epicurus also outlined the three simple ingredients that would guarantee happiness: Friendship, Self-sufficiency and Thought. It turns out that these three essential factors are goals that we can all afford to pursue.
Hedonism (a life devoted to pleasure), unfortunately, is what many of us think of when we hear Epicurus' name. There is a tendency to reject pleasure as a moral good. We usually think of charity, compassion, humility, honour, justice, and other virtues as morally good, while pleasure is, at worst, evil and at best, morally neutral. For Epicurus the pursuit of pleasure assured an upright life.
Epicurus says we should not try to increase our pleasure beyond the point of maximum intensity. Think of it in terms of eating. If you're hungry, there's pain. If you eat to fill the hunger, you feel good, and are behaving in accordance with Epicureanism. In contrast, if you gorge yourself, you experience pain, again. For Epicurus, extravagance leads to pain, not pleasure. Therefore we should avoid extravagance.
Epicurus' world-view is an optimistic one that stresses that philosophy can liberate one from our fears, and can teach us how to find happiness in almost any situation. His practical insight into human psychology gives Epicureanism great contemporary significance as well as a venerable role in the intellectual development of Western Civilization.
And this is how the Year 11 and 12 VCE students happily start their year at Pythagoras Greek School. That's right! They do enjoy Greek School very much. They especially love learning about our glorious history.
The irony is, about halfway through the year, they start becoming very sad. I presume it is the stress of their impending final exams. But no, I am completely off the mark. All students that do Greek at Year 12 express how much it upsets them to be in their last year of Greek School. They literally do not want it to end. 'I'm going to miss this sir!' they exclaim.
And this is what makes my job so rewarding. This is what makes me happy.
Constantine Roubos, Principal, Pythagoras Greek School, for more info email firstname.lastname@example.org
11 February 2021
Pythagoras welcomes you to their friendly, exciting and welcoming school.
The Greek School of Pythagoras was founded by George and Anastasia Roubou in 1969. It started with 15 students in a room at the back of their house in a small Melbourne suburb called Elwood. From its humble beginnings, it quickly developed into one of the largest Greek schools of the 1970s and 1980s with six branches and more than 1,000 students. Today it is still considered a pioneering and creative school of the Greek language with a special emphasis on Greek culture.
To best accommodate their students, this year their Elwood branch which operates every Saturday morning, will also be adding afternoon classes from 1:30pm to 4:30pm.
The goal of the school is to cultivate a learning environment in which children feel happy and above all proud to be Greek-Australians.
Students are taught how to read confidently by understanding the Greek language, to communicate orally and to express their thoughts in writing clearly and accurately. The impressive results of the students in the VCE exams prove the effectiveness of the educational curriculum, the quality and the passion of the teachers of Pythagoras but also the care they show to the students.
Teachers of the school love the Greek language and culture with a passion and this is reflected in their daily practice in the classroom. The curriculum of Pythagoras incorporates the various customs and traditions of Greek culture as well as the richness of Greek history including: Lighting of the oil lamp and celebrating name days, disguises for the celebration of the pre-Easter carnival, events for the national anniversaries of March 25 and October 28, celebration of the birthday of poet, Dionysios Solomos, cracking Easter eggs and various Christmas traditions are some of the inventive ways in which the curriculum of the Greek school Pythagoras deals with the richness of Greek culture.
During term three the focus shifts to the glorious ancient past of Greece. Children are immersed in ancient history and mythology in a hands-on way that includes dressing up and presentations of related projects.
Other activities include student participation in the March 25 parade at the Shrine of Remembrance, dances, events for the end of the school year, and “tavern” nights for VCE students along with excursions.
Students are often asked, “Does your Greek school do all these things?” Their answer is: “Don’t all Greek schools do the same?”
5 February 2023
When it comes to Greek Cultural Studies, Pythagoras Greek School do things a bit differently. They don’t just teach a couple of Greek dances, instead, they delve into the rich and glorious Greek heritage and discover what it means to be Greek.
The school year always begins with the blessing performed by the priest. Every term, children and staff celebrating their name day, light the vigil lamp or kandilaki together and learn about the lives of the saints. During Apokries they dress up as masquerades, even the teachers and the Principal. After Easter, children bring their strongest red egg for the annual crack off contest. In the third term, the ancient gods and goddesses come alive before the student’s eyes. At the final Christmas concert, the little ones dress up for the Nativity scene and the real Santa Claus is introduced. One could say that at Pythagoras Greek School children are able to experience a little slice of Greece. For more information call 0417 393 049 or visit the school’s website www.pythagorasgreekschool.org Alternatively, follow Pythagoras Greek School on Facebook.