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First among the first

An award ceremony for the the 60 “first among the first” lyceum graduates from all over Greece for the school year 2003-2004, took place on Friday, February 11th, 2005, in the Old Parliament.
An award ceremony for the  the 60 “first among the first” lyceum graduates from all over Greece for the school year 2003-2004, took place on Friday, February 11th, 2005, in the Old Parliament.  The awards were presented to the graduates by the President of the Republic, Mr. Constantinos Stephanopoulos.  This ceremony concluded the second round of EFG Eurobank Ergasias’ sponsorship programme, named “The Great Moment for Education”.   In the context of this programme, EFG Eurobank awards every year distinguished graduating students from every Lyceum of the country —whether public or private, daily or evening— who achieved the highest grade in the entrance examinations to university education. The programme, which was firstly implemented in 2003 and continued last year concerns more than 230,000 students from the approximately 1,300 Lyceums of the country. Every award is accompanied by the amount of 1,000 euros. For the school year 2003-2004, 1,106 Lyceum graduates received an award in 33 awarding ceremonies that took place in the respective prefectures.
The objective of the programme addressed to the new generation, is to highlight the importance of values such as meritocracy, emulation, and the pursuit of distinction and success. In this context, EFG Eurobank awards students who excelled, symbolically reinforcing this way the effort for knowledge and education. At the same time, through this programme, the Bank enhances its presence in the social life of the country.
The Greek State, and especially the Ministry of National Education and Religion, is a valuable collaborator in the implementation of the programme.
The warm reaction of the educational community, the local societies, the students themselves and their parents constitutes a proof of the success of this programme.
The Deputy Minister of National Education and Religion, Mr. Spyros Taliadouros, honored the ceremony with his presence. After congratulating the Bank for this important initiative, he said among other things that: “the investment  in knowledge is a primary  choice of the government as it believes that the Greek citizens should enjoy equal access opportunities to a successful educational system which is as good as the European and international systems.” Mr. Taliadouros described EFG Eurobank’s initiative as praiseworthy since it rewards students whose primary asset is their will to learn and progress. At the same time, he stressed that this initiative shows the social responsibility of the corporations and the contribution they can make in every field of social life and especially in education.
From his point of view, the Chief Executive Officer of EFG Eurobank Ergasias, Mr. Nicholas Nanopoulos stressed that “The Great Moment for Education” is evolving into a live institution which inspires our young people and semiotically illustrates the importance of valuable and diachronic values. For this reason, the development of a sponsorship in the field of education which is indissolubly and by privilege linked to the most active and promising part of every society —its young generation— was an obvious choice for EFG Eurobank. This is the only way for our nation and society to pursue a future distinguished by creativity, pioneering activities and dynamism by posing not only strictly materialistic but ethical priorities as well. Thus, we shall shape a society worthy of our brilliant traditions and at the same time dynamically present in today’s competitive world of knowledge, rapid evolution and international challenges. Today’s ceremony will be deemed successful if it sends out a deeper message to all young people, students and employees. The awards to 60 excellent students with brilliant records are a symbolic gesture for the effort, consistency, responsibility and healthy ambition for prosperity of people whose basic asset is knowledge and the pursuit of continuous improvement. This is the only legitimate way to success and progress for each one of us and for our society in general. Our banking group, given the consignment of its founders, the Latsis family, wishes to be present in this effort, in a creative way. We feel that this way we already have made and will continue to make a positive and substantial social contribution by returning to society, in a constructive way, part of the profits our business activities have yielded.
Mr. Nanopoulos made a special reference to the President of the Republic, Mr. Constantinos Stephanopoulos, whom he thanked for his presence through which he dignifies and substantiates the messages of this initiative. He concluded by saying that: “Your presence, Mr. President, provides today’s ceremony with special emotion and a deeper symbolism. It is broadly accepted by the greek society that with your modesty, dignity, ethos and effectiveness you have significantly contributed to the upgrading of the institution and the office of the first citizen of this country who, as you have proven, can guarantee and honor democracy in its homeland.”
On behalf of the graduates, the “first among the first” Mr. Kimon Dracopoulos, student of the Unified Lyceum “New Generation Ziridis” with access grade 19.87, after thanking the Bank “for its support to all students”, mentioned that the preparation period for the entrance examinations is the most difficult one in the life of the students, since they must renounce a great part of their everyday life in order to invest as much in learning, self-culture and future. EFG Eurobank’s awards confirm that significant efforts are also made by private corporations towards the improvement of education.
Among the people who honored the ceremony with their presence were the former Prime Minister Mr. Georgios Rallis, the former Minister of Education Mr. Gerasimos Arsenis, the member of the parliament Mr. Lefteris Verivakis, the vice-mayors of Athens, Mrs. Maria Tsompanaki and Mrs. Ira Valsamaki, deans, the vice- chairman of EFG Eurobank Ergasias Board of Directors, Mrs. Marianna Latsi, Mr. Nikos Courcoulos, the General Manager of the Latsis Group, Mr. Evangelos Chronis, members of the educational community, students and  parents.