201412.09
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A Message from the President – December 2014

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The HCGM President, Mr. Nicholas Pagonis

The Holidays are upon us and this last month of the year has brought us some significant developments.

I am happy to announce that the HCGM members present at the last General Assembly approved the Bank of Montreal’s offer of refinancing for the HCGM.  This new agreement will significantly facilitate our growing Organisation’s daily operations, including easing the strain on our cash flow.

These last few months have certainly been difficult for us, given the news that the Quebec government will be cutting funds to all private schools.  From the onset of this announcement we rushed to find a solution and are pleased to announce yet another great development.  As a direct result of lobbying and ongoing efforts by students’ parents, as well as, members of the HCGM Board of Directors, staff, friends and supporters in the Greek community, and in particular the office of Gerry Sklavounos, MNA for Laurier-Dorion, we are extremely happy to announce that the Ministry of Education has agreed to repay the $ 580,000 that was cut earlier this year, as part of the Quebec government’s efforts to clean up its finances.  The amount will be returned to us over a period of three school years, specifically, $ 293,288 in 2014-2015, $ 190,000 in 2015-2016 and $ 95,319 in 2016-2017.  The HCGM is grateful to everyone involved and especially to Gerry Sklavounos for his intense and tireless efforts to bring about this result.  He has, once again, proved that he is a great supporter of our school, École Socrates-Démosthène, and of the community.

We are also immensely proud to announce that the great exhibition of Greek artefacts, « The Greeks – Agamemnon to Alexander the Great », will open its doors to the public in a just few days.  Visitors to the Pointe-à-Callière museum will be taken on a historical journey of national significance, showcasing our people, our culture and our accomplishments.  Two days prior to the official launch, members of our community have been given the exclusive opportunity to attend a world premiere pre-screening reception, where they will witness the timeless value of Hellenism from the ancient Greek era to the present.  Profits from this evening will benefit the Pointe-à-Callière Foundation and the schools of the HCGM.

On a different note, thirty-three young singers from our school, École Socrates-Demosthènes, have successfully auditioned for the nearly 350-member children’s choir for the French adaptation of “Time for Flowers Time for Snow”, a book and CD released in English last year.  A press conference for “Le Temps des fleurs, le temps des neiges” will be held in late February at the Hellenic Community Centre Adrian Maris.

The Christmas season can be a difficult time of the year for some and, as always, the HCGM Hellenic Social Services of Quebec, will offer their valuable assistance to those in need.  In this issue, Mrs. Eleni Fakotakis, the Department’s Director, writes about « Γιαγιάς Christmas Canes », a story about priceless love, kindness and the generosity of giving.  As well, in his article, Archimandrite Father Dimitrios Antonopoulos of the HCGM Evangelismos Tis Theotokou Church, describes the period of time from the beginning of fasting to the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Finally, on a joyful note, the members of the Board of Directors and I will be offering a special Christmas Day Luncheon at no charge, on December 25th, at the Hellenic Community Centre Adrian Maris, for those who would like to celebrate Christmas with us.

Warm wishes to everyone for a Merry Christmas!

May His love shine upon your family at Christmas and always…

Nicholas T. Pagonis

President