Feb 24, 2007



The annual Society of Epirus Award Ceremony was held on Saturday, February 24, 2007 at the Crystal Fountain Banquet Hall. 

The ceremony was very well attended with more than 500 people in the auditorium including: Bill Sklavos, of Evdomada Newspaper, Basilis Diamantopoulos, President of CHIR Radio Station, members of the clergy, government and various other organizations. 

Paul Nitsotolis, President of the Society, thanked everyone for their participation and success of the event. 

Usually, the society has 3 or 4 genius students each year, i.e. those students with the highest overall average at their high schools. However, for the first time there was a record number of high achievers, this year there was a total of 8 recipients. Eftixia Rizov, Michael Kanopoulos, Kathryn Mastoras, Christopher Nitsotolis, Dawn Lioutas, Stefana Vittas, Patrick Kanopoulos, Eleni Mastoras 

Awards were presented by: Representatives of the Orthodox Church of Canada Father Peter Avgeropoulos, other business, including Goudas Foods, and professor at Ryerson University George Gekas. 

Each year the Goudas Food Organization presents the top 3 highest achieving students with Scholastic Achievement Awards. 

This is a highly prestigious event in the community, and Mr. Spyros Peter Goudas took the time out of his busy schedule to attend and present these awards along his son, Panos. 

Needless, to say, Mr. Goudas was very excited at the idea that so many of our young people are excelling academically and showing promise for the future and proudly stated this in his speech. 

Hariklia Simos, a former 3-time recipient of this award, was invited by Mr. Goudas to visit him at his office last year. At that time he was focused on his biography, titled The Immigrant. We are pleased to state that Ms. Simos comments are included in his book. The text of which is incorporated here: 

How I came to look past the Label: By: Hariklia Simos 

When I walked into the office, glimpsed at a sign that read: If you see me doing nothing, please do not disturb; this is when I am at my busiest; and then was bombarded by a barking little white dog, I knew I was in for an adventure. 

Every year the THE SOCIETY OF EPIRUS of Canada holds a celebration commemorating the liberation of Ioanina, a city in the region Epiros in Greece. 

And for many years Mr. Goudas has been giving awards to the highest achieving students in their year at this festivity. This is how I came to know him personally. 

I would go to the banquet hall, sit in my seat, eat the dolmadakias that Mr. Goudas provided and await the awards. I have gotten the award three times before, always presented by a member of the Society of Epiros. Mr. Goudas only presents the award personally to the senior students. 

Then my final year came, Mr. Goudas made his speech and then called me up to accept my award. While taking pictures for the newspapers, Mr. Goudas asked me what school I was currently attending. 

When I told Mr. Goudas that I was in my first year of journalism at Ryerson University a little light bulb lit up above his head. Mr. Goudas wanted to know if I wanted to write something for him. 

I knew this was a great opportunity, I had been on www.GoudasFoods.com website many times before, looking at pictures of past award ceremonies and had also stumbled upon many pieces of journalism done on Mr. Goudas. This would mean that he is a guaranteed interesting person. 

I went to his office and was delighted to find out that he was publishing a book on his life and he had a space reserved for what I am writing at this moment. 

I was guided around Mr. Goudas food empire by his hard-working son Panos, and started to understand the vastness of what Mr. Goudas does - he ships, refines, packages, shelves and puts food on our table.

Then I read some of the stories in Mr. Goudas book allowed, some that made me Laugh, Go! Go! Go! Go Goudas Go! Kalamaki Late 50s; ones that were poignant, You Can Almost Perform Miracles at the Age of 25!; and stories that made me second guess what I thought I knew about Mr. Goudas (Indo Caribbean Newspaper Flashback Caribana 1975-1976). 

I took the book home and read it cover to cover, many of the stories of Mr. Goudas facing hardships in life reflect many of the stories I have heard from my family that had also immigrated to Canada in the second half of the 20th century. 

When I read the book I felt as if I was looking at a photo album, while having someone explain each snapshot of life to me, one filled with hardships and accomplishments. 

I thank Mr. Goudas for putting good food on the table, but foremost I thank him for his continuing support in education and for helping all of us, no matter where we are from, to find a home away from home in Canada. 

Thank you, Mr. Goudas. 

We are proud to state that she is continuing her education at University, studying Journalism. We wish her the best of success.

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