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"First of the First" award ceremony for High School graduates

The award ceremony “First of the First” for High School graduates of all prefectures of Greece, in the framework of the program “The great moment for Education”, established in 2003 by Eurobank EFG was held today (Tuesday, 17 March 2009) in the Old House, before the President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias.
Each year, through the program “The Great Moment for Education”, Eurobank rewards the top graduates with the highest end-of-school degrees from every, public and private, daily and evening, high school in the country. For the 2007-2008 school year, it awarded 1,199 graduates, whereas a total of 7,000 distinguished students have been awarded since the program started in 2003.
The continuation of the program “The Great Moment for Education”, comes to reinforce the already significant social contribution of the Eurobank Group in Education, in parallel with its sponsorship of other important areas such as Culture, Sport and the Environment.
In his speech, the Deputy Minister of National Education and Religious Affairs, Mr Andreas Lykourentzos stressed among else: “The noble initiative Eurobank, ongoing for six years already, to award excelling school graduates, is undoubtedly an important act of moral approval and recognition of the personal struggle of each of the winners for learning and knowledge. Additionally, the award states that the struggle for the education and training of our youth, namely the struggle for the genuine progress and prosperity of our country, only works when it is systematic and laborious. When goes beyond and fights ease and complacency, and most importantly, when it is guided by the universal values of Greek culture. And, at the same time, when this struggle is in line with other scientific and technological developments and current social needs.
With faith in the upgrading of education, that edifies thinking and virtuous citizens and promotes the productive forces of our society, we are part of an honest, sincere and spontaneous dialogue and hope for a common response to this, to agree on common options, which will ensure an optimistic outlook for the future of the Greek educational community, for the future of Greek society - a society of progress and significant conquests”.
Eurobank EFG’s CEO, Mr Nicholas Nanopoulos said that “Through our program “The great moment for Education”, we want, in a symbolic way, to encourage the effort of our young people for education and literacy, as the best route to personal and professional development and happiness. We also want to highlight values such as responsibility, the quest for quality, fair play, ambition, the critical pursuit of knowledge, the claiming of success and distinction, with balance and morality. The fact is that today, young people live in an environment of uncertainty, amidst collapsing values and standards, an environment of increased competition and requirements. The unprecedented crisis of the global economy creates a climate of frustration, insecurity and even fear, undermining the faith of the younger generation in their own future. Often, these emotions lead to anger and extreme reactions, as they feel that their hopes and dreams mean nothing to our modern society. However, uncritical controversy, blind rage, generalized condemnations and nihilistic rationales offer nothing, but lead only to spiritual stagnation, regression and failure. All of us, but especially our young generation, should find their own path for their own course, through a process based on values and institutions. And this effort is directly connected to an education that can inspire them and equip them with skills and competencies that will enable them to pave the way for their future, for the realisation of their dreams and goals. For this reason, a modern education, is undoubtedly of national importance and the greatest challenge and investment for the future. This education is a right of our youth and an obligation for us”.
On behalf of the winners, Ms. Kyriaki Kazas, who excelled at the Gen. Lyceum of Eginio, Pieria and now studies at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki said: “Certainly, the Greek examinations are the first test that we as young people are called to face in our uphill struggle towards our scientific and professional perfection. Our attempt to win this fight was a success and its recognition in today’s ceremony arms us with determination and pugnacity, and encourages us to continue to fight for the best. Continue to provide us with incentives and for our part, we pledge that we will do our best to build a brighter and hopeful future”.
In addition, Ms Elena Mavrona, who excelled at the 4th General Lyceum of Corfu and now studies at the Medical School of Thessaloniki, said: “I succeeded in my preparation for the Greek examinations either because I had to, or thanks to my family or people who filled me with confidence, or thanks to an idea, not well defined but stable, that this was an intermediary step for my opportunity to do something important. In this process, I learned for the first time the word inspiration and I learned to love it more than any other, because I feel that its 11 letters in a line can give us the strength to face life as we should”.
The two distinguished graduates were the first of the first in Greece, with equal marks.

The event was attended, among others, by deputy ministers, parliamentarians, rectors, and representatives of all levels of education and economic and social life.

The event was coordinated by the Medicine student Nicolas Spetsieris, who excelled in the 2006-2007 school year.