Bettencourt, offering brief remarks, said he “truly admires how the Greek community has held onto its culture and roots.” He noted that many Peabody police officers, firefighters, teachers, a mayor and a congressman all represented the city’s Greeks over the years.
A highlight of the afternoon’s festivities was when Greek school students took the stage in Wiggin Auditorium in traditional garb to perform several rounds of ethnic dances.
And speaking of dancing, state Sen. Joan Lovely, who has attended a couple of these celebrations now, said she hopes to learn a step or two for next year.
“I think there’s a rule though that politicians [can’t] dance,” rejoined Bettencourt, smiling. “And now let’s call a great dancer to the stage,” he said, inviting state Rep. Ted Speliotis to speak. Speliotis said not only did his mother save all her children’s costumes, but she kept the shoes, as well. State Rep. Leah Cole and a handful of city councilors also attended the ceremony.
There are about 60 students at the Greek school these days, ages 4 to 12, who spend three days a week after the regular school day ends to learn about their heritage, the Greek language and ethnic dances.
Business-savvy Peabody High students are once again preparing for national competition in Atlanta, Ga., later this spring. Eight members of the school’s DECA Club qualified for nationals earlier this month at the state conference held in Boston, demonstrating business and marketing projects they’ve developed this year.
Austin Solimine, Alex McDonough, Maria Zoto, Shantel Silva and Chris Ciampa all grabbed first-place awards, while Danny Griffin and Chris Ceurvels snagged second place and Anna Grimalyak claimed third. Clubmates Gianni Farese, Gabriela Molica, Amie Bonsaint, Ashley Feragammo, Jillian Rubin and Isabela Valencia all finished within the top 10 places.
There are still a couple of months to go before nationals in May, and the club is busy raising money to pay for the trip. The latest fundraiser was an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet at the Portuguese-American War Veterans Post this past Sunday. You can find more news from the club at peabodydeca.weebly.com.
You can reach John Castelluccio at 978-338-2527, email@example.com or via Twitter at @SNjcastelluccio.