Spreading the vision of Eleusis 2021 European Capital of Culture 2021-Candidate City, Eleusis 2021 invited the students, the teachers and the parents of Eleusis to be united and claim the future of their city.
In the afternoon of 6 June, 150 children from the sixth grade of nine different primary schools of Eleusis and Magoula wore the shirts ‘I support Eleusis 2021’ and played a treasure hunt game, entitled “Discover your city’s treasures”. The Old Oil Factory was divided in 10 different game stations and became once again active with the children’s enthusiasm and vividness. With the support of the Volunteers’ Association, the inactive factory was transformed into a place of learning and playing. With simple materials the important landmarks of the city became alive and with the collaboration of the local folklore associations were revealed the diverse human resources of the city. The students were driven at each station after having solved the corresponding puzzle.
The treasure hunt started in the first “station” of the Old Oil-Soap Factory, an inactive space where children learned its history and painted its future. At the next stop, in the Folklore Association “Adrachti” they learned the relation of the wheat with Eleusis and the story of the bread through making a traditional cake especially for Eleusis 2021. At the “station” the Cretan Union of Eleusis the students tasted Cretan rusks with tomato, cheese and olives, ingredients of the rich Mediterranean diet of Crete. The dance teacher from the Pontian Association of Eleusis taught them how to dance the “omal” a traditional dance accompanied by live music with a traditional lyre and tabor, while they were offered a caramelized apple. The next stop was the archaeological site of Eleusis where the students made with clay the great “Eleusinian Relief” with Triptolemus, Demeter and Persephone. At the “station” of the Association of Minor Asia of Eleusis, children assign flash cards with the authentic everyday objects the refugees of Minor Asia had brought with them and they ate traditional pies.
But the game didn’t stop here… at the next game station “The Old Railway Station of Eleusis” the students built a train with recyclable materials on which they wrote down in four European languages the values that Eleusis transfers in Europe. Next stop? “The churches of Eleusis” where they connected the pieces of a large puzzle with the main temples of the city. At the station of “Aeschylus”, the director Dimitris Seitanis and the teacher Thalia Kalianta talked to the students about the ancient tragedy. Children recited a part of “Prometheus Bound” written by Aeschylus, wearing traditional costumes and masks. Last stop the “Roman Aqueduct” where they played a relay race game that helped them understand how the aqueduct worked and how it provided water from the sources of the mountain Parnitha in ancient Eleusis.
The game ended with the awards that were given to the students and a special event followed with music and dance performances from five different elementary schools while the scene was made by artworks that were made by students from the kindergartens of Eleusis and Magoula.
The performance of the sixth grade of the 4th Primary School of Eleusis organized by the teacher Isidora Kampoli showed scenes from the Greek cinema. The students of the 2nd Primary School of Eleusis sang the “Bicycle” of Ch. Nikolopoulou and Ari Davarakis transforming the lyrics especially for Eleusis 2021. A bicycle, emblem of Eleusis, is going around Eleusis and is dreaming of making Eleusis into the center of Europe.
The fourth grade of the 5th Primary School of Eleusis presented the sound story with improvised musical instruments made by old metal, which was entitled “A dragon…the heavy metal”. A dragon discovers the music. He is looking everywhere to find a way to learn music. Do you believe that he can find it in Eleusis? The text was written and recited by the teacher Julia Dretaki, while the soundtrack and teaching was made by the musician Despina Laskou. The sound story presented by the students in the fourth Hellenic Students’ Conference of the Greek Society of Nature’s Protection in 2016 and won the first prize.
Approximately 80 students from the 7th Primary School of Eleusis presented the song “Life is Beautiful”, music by Nicola Piovani and Greek lyrics by Kostas Fasoula from the Italian dramatic comedy «La Vitta è Bella» of Roberto Benigni. Children have interpreted the song in sign language. Eleusis wants to send the message to Europe that respects diversity. The song teaching and sign interpretation was made by the musician Despina Laskou.
Finally, the 10th Primary School of Eleusis with the musician Dimitris Andronis interpreted the two songs composed by Dimitris Andronis. The first is dedicated to all children of sixth grade urging them to learn to fight in life, and the second under the title “Eleusis goddess” dedicated to their beloved city. The lyrics of the second song by Voula Papaioannou, teacher of the same school were written in 1996 for a school celebration. Since then it has passed through the lips of hundreds of students, to carry with them the small drips from the history of their city, to save what has remained. It was also presented in the art installation “Human Traces” of Marios Spiliopoulos at the Old Oil Factory in 2008.
The public applauded the 150 children and the organizers received the most positive comments. Many expressed the urge to repeat such a wide event, which brought schools so close together and so close to the Eleusis’s vision.
Planning, coordination and implementation of the game and the whole event had taken care by: Alexandra Tsigou (Responsible of Environmental Education of Western Attica), Georgia Stamatopoulou (Responsible of Health Education of Western Attica), Despina Laskou (Musician at 5th, 2nd, 7th Primaries Schools in Eleusis) and Ioulia Dretaki (Teacher at the 5th Primary School of Eleusis).