Εducation in Greek elementary school in Montreal F. A. Komborozos
At the turn of the last century, the establishment of a regular Greek school was a priority for the original Greek Community in Montreal, after having established a Church for its religious needs. A Greek school was considered essential for the children of immigrants to learn, preserve and continue the Greek language, the history of their forefathers, their culture and their orthodox traditions and values.
In 1907, a year after the Hellenic Community of Montreal was established; Greek classes began in the hall of Evangelismos Church. In 1909, the “Platon” School was set up and in 1910, it was organised as a day school – the first of its kind in North America – with 25 students and Ioannis Didaskalou from Korinthos as their teacher. In 1911, the School, under the administration of Heracles Papamanolis, its first director, was relocated to its own building on Clark Street, behind Evagelismos Church and 35 students were enrolled. In 1913, there were 50 students, with Ms. Alexandrou and Ms. Papadakis as their teachers. In 1916, Thomas Efthymiadis from Macedonia took over as director of the School, and in 1920 enrolment totalled 110 students. It was a parochial school that followed the curriculum of Protestant Schools in Montreal and classes were taught in English, Greek and French.
Following the political instability and division in Greece, in September 1925, a group from within the Community purchased the Holy Trinity Church and established a second school named “The Socrates Anglo-Greek School Inc”, which was located in the building next to the church. Michael Stavrides, a graduate of the renowned Evangelical School of Smyrna, was appointed as Director of the School, a position he held until his death in 1951. The school followed the curriculum of the Protestant Central School Board of Montreal and taught the Greek language and culture in addition to the English and French languages. However, the financial crisis that followed however, forced the Greeks to congregate at Holy Trinity Church and to unite the “Platon” and “Socrates” Schools in 1931.
During the next two decades, Socrates School faced hard times and its operations were often supported by the Church Fund, due to low or non existing tuition fees and donations. Compatriots were admirable in their efforts to keep the school operating for the sake of their children and their survival as Greek Orthodox Christians. There were times when the teachers’ salaries and other expenses were paid throughout the year by generous benefactors of the Community.
Komborozos, Fotis. 2015 . A brief historical overview of the Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal. Montreal: Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal, p. 8.