Η Ελληνίδα που καθιέρωσε τα ελληνικά ως μόνη ξένη γλώσσα στο Χάρλεμ
Panorea (Penny) Panagiosoulis, became famous for establishing her mother language, greek, as the only foreign language to be taught in Harlem KAPPA IV public school. Penny Panagiosoulis decided from day one that she would introduce greek to the school, as an opportunity to open the minds of the students, and to help them understand -through the language – more about the roots of democracy and where it was born. To her effort she found great enthusiasm by the people in charge of the school program.
The methodology that KAPPA IV follows creates a positive energy, that could be adopted by other greek-american schools.
“It’s not just about teaching the greek language, it also has to do with what the language represents”, says Penny. “We try to underline the relationship of the language with many things in the world….Thanx to the new technologies the world has become accessible to everyone with just a click…The students that obtain the knowledge of the greek language and the culture of several civilizations are sure to develop their self-confidence and know who they really are”, says Penny at a previous interview. *
The greek language in KAPPA IV is a basic part of the school’s program, and basically it plays a very important role since most of the scientific terms are actually greek words. “For instance, when we teach the Pythagorean theorem in class, we then have a discussion about Pythagoras, about how the Greeks affected mathematics, about the philosophers, the Parthenon, the architecture and the structure of an ancient greek city”.
“We started the program by teaching greek as a foreing language, giving more attention to grammar, vocabulary and some cultural information. On the way this got much bigger. This of course had to do with a ten day trip to Greece that took place for 33 of our students -along with 19 chaperones. They there had a first class chance to see what we were talking about in class. During their trip to Greece they visited many importan archeological sites, such as Olympia, Delphi, Acropolis, Meteora and more” says Penny, who is now the principal in Kappa International High School.
A good example of how students of KAPPA IV learned the greek language was when they put on a theatrical show in “Stathakion cultural center”, presenting Aristophanes’ greak comedy “Ornithes” (“The Birds”), leaving everyone stunned. The language selected for the play was of course greek, but also english, and what is also important is that the actual music of Manos Hadjidakis was used, to accompany the play, as it was done in the past in the historic presentation of the play under the direction of the great Karolos Koun.
Panorea Panagiosoulis is the daughter of the greek-american writer Gabriel Panagio
s, an avid fan of the greek language. Penny herself admits that her father inspired her in this achievement, saying that through his vision she was able to understan what being Greek is all about. She was born in Guatemala, from her mother’s side. They emigrated to the States when Penny was really young, but every year they visit Greece -and more specifically their beloved island of Kefalonia.