Representatives from the Greek Community and Odyssey Charter School participate in a Greek flag raising ceremony in Freedom Plaza

Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki today joined Delaware Governor John Carney in proclaiming Monday, March 25, 2019 as Greek Independence Day at a flag raising ceremony in Freedom Plaza outside the Louis L. Redding City/County Building, 800 North French Street. Michael Klezaras of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) and Dr. Marina Mattheoudakis, Dean of the Greek Immersion Program at the Odyssey Charter School, along with dozens of Odyssey students, were among those in attendance at this morning’s commemoration.

“We are proud to celebrate the diverse cultures and customs that strengthen communities across our state,” said Governor Carney. “Greek-Americans played a large role in the growth of Wilmington through the years, and we appreciate their many contributions, including Holy Trinity Church, Govatos Candies, and the annual Greek Festival. We are proud to honor the Greek community’s rich heritage today, and we thank Odyssey Charter School students and community members for joining this celebration.”

“It’s fitting that this year’s 198th Anniversary of Greek independence from the Ottoman Empire is celebrated in the First City of the First State,” said Mayor Purzycki, “so that free people everywhere can honor those who struggled to bring self-government back to the homeland of democracy.”

In issuing the City’s proclamation, Mayor Purzycki encouraged citizens of Wilmington and around the region to celebrate the Ancient Greek ideals, which continue to inspire citizens around the world, and to take on this day to honor Wilmington’s Greek families past and present “for their contributions to the culture and rich development of our City.”

During today’s ceremony, students from the Odyssey Charter School sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” in English, followed by a rendition of the Greek National Anthem (“Hymn to Liberty”) in Greek as the national flag of Greece was raised. Lyrics to the Greek National Anthem in both Greek and in English are included at the end of this release. To view the ceremony, click here.

American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA)

The Order of the American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association (AHEPA) was founded in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1922 to fight hatred, bigotry spearheaded by the Ku Klux Klan, and discrimination, and to assist Greek immigrants into assimilating into American Society. The Wilmington, Delaware Chapter #95 was instituted on February 14, 1926 by newly naturalized citizens John Govatos, George Boines, James Sarros, Nicholas Govatos, James Haldas, Gregory Kramedas, and Charles Tarabicos. To learn more, visit:

Odyssey Charter School

In 2006, Odyssey Charter School opened its doors as Delaware’s first mathematics content focused, 2nd language (Greek) elementary education charter school. Since then, Odyssey has provided Delaware families with a classical approach to public education. A rigorous standards-based curriculum and instruction in the Greek language is delivered in a challenging, yet nurturing, learning environment. Current enrollment is over 1800 students in grades K-12; the diverse student body includes students from seven different public school districts. Odyssey Charter School was rated a Superior School by Delaware’s Department of Education in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Photos courtesy of Mayor Purzycki’s Office