Socrates schools: From humble start to global competitor
Published Friday, November 13, 2009 4:12PM EST
In a province where bilingualism could sometimes be controversial, the success of a trilingual institution like the Socrates Greek schools all the more remarkable.
For 100 years the Socrates schools have been a backbone of the city's Greek community, offering courses in French and English as well as Greek.
There's also a heavy dose of history and theology, making it one of Montreal's richest trilingual programs.
Eleni Bakopanos, an alumnus and former member of parliament, tells CTV's Paul Karwatsky that the Socrates schools keep Greek-Canadians grounded.
"It gives students a sense of knowing who they are," said Bakopanos.
"And when you know where you've come from you also have a solid base to move on in life."
Socrates was founded in 1909 in a small church basement on St. Laurent boulevard.
Demand spiked as large numbers of Greek immigrants moved to Montreal, beginning in the 1950s.
Alumni range from former federal MPs to business leaders.
Not just Greeks
The school has such high academic standards that non-Greeks are signing up their children.
Gianni Bodo teaches at the school and has also enrolled his children.
"Socrates schools are just a great environment -- they're a safe environment," he said.
"I don't really see where else I would put my children right now."
Socrates has 1,200 students on four campuses - in Roxboro, Montreal, Laval and the south shore.