Stories Talk | Presentation Skills and Effective Storytelling
When Stella was studying literature in Greece, she couldn’t have imagined that a few years later she would establish the first online Greek Language School which would soon consist of hundreds of students from all over the world.
By Mia Kollia
Translated by Alexaandros Theodoropoulos
After graduating from the literature department of the University of Patras in 2004, she left for the United States where she lived for about 2 years with her older brother, Panos. Her goal was to do her master's degree in Raleigh of North Carolina.
She was eventually admitted to UCL in 2006 where she completed her postgraduate studies. During the two years she stayed in America, she lived close to the Greek community and gained significant experience for the future.
With postgraduate studies at the University College of London, where she specialised in Online Education Technologies and with the advantage of combining traditional classroom with new technologies, Stella managed to build an online family of collaborators and teachers based in Greece, who every day bring Hellenism a little closer to the Greeks of Diaspora.
From London, where she lives with her husband, Stella has been running The Greek Online School since 2014 with more than 1200 active students and 50 Greek teachers. Through The Greek Online School, a very special online community of expatriates has been created, full of love for the Greek language, Greece and Hellenism.
It is the first school that prepares students for the Greek language exams entirely online with a success rate of 100%. They also organise language knowledge games for children, where 15-20 children from different countries come together to claim the first place!
This online community is the solution to those who find online education distant for their celebrations, national anniversaries, friendships formed between classmates and especially for their summer encounters in Greece. But mainly, they respond with the work of the School that makes Greek language and culture available in every corner of the world.
In 2007, her partner Pavlos asked her to connect through a platform called Adobe, explaining that they would teach their lessons in this way. Back then connections were almost non-existent.
"From that moment we started experimenting and we never stopped looking for tools and platforms even when I returned to Greece. But the idea of a Greek Language Online School for Greeks abroad belongs to my other half, Alexandros, who has nothing to do with education but his passion for caring and saving human lives is not limited to medicine.
It’s the summer of 2011 and the crisis has started - I have been dismissed from the tutoring center where I worked. One night, a conversation converted the crisis into an opportunity to make my dream for something different come true. From that moment I was 100% committed to The Greek Online School which was then called Greek Lessons OnLine. Knowledge, education, concern, appetite, conditions and love, all gave birth to my school."
Citizen of the World
"It simply came to our notice then. From a very young age I was very curious to meet people and live somewhere abroad, as I did. I do not like to feel trapped in one place, I drown. It also means knowledge, I’ve learnt to listen to the world around me and only when I actually listen carefully to others around me, I learn about the world and I become part of it.
I don’t like whining but truth is that most of us although we think we listen, we basically just talk. Also, being a citizen of the world means to offer. What better way than to offer the world a piece of yourself, to offer knowledge, to offer Hellenism!”
Holidays with Greeks from all over the world
The Greek Online School is the first Greek school in the world that has been hosting online celebrations since 2014. At the beginning, these festivities were attended by a maximum of 10 children, while now that number has surpassed a total of 1,200 active students. 150-200 children participate and talk about Greek traditions and customs, recite poems, sing and play.
"It is very moving to see them well-groomed, adorned, eagerly awaiting their turn to say their part and be heard from one end of the globe to the other."
An excerpt of their celebration for the 200 years since the Greek Revolution was recently shown in two Greek channels and the students went crazy! It is unbelievable, especially for those who underestimate the country, to see the pride and satisfaction of students, parents and teachers that live to faraway places.
Stella's dream is The Greek Online School to reach the homes of all Greeks and Philhellenes of the world. They recently came up with a very important collaboration with "Boston Brigadiers" school by undertaking its Greek language courses. Language is taught online and our culture is taught physically.
This cooperation gave new perspective to their action. "We want all Greek neighborhood schools around the world and all Greek communities with us, as our allies.
One of our favourite slogans is: I am learning to love Greek. So I will sum up with this dream; all of us to learn to love our language, our Greece, our Hellenism!"