Senior George Maroutsos delivers speech to Greek Parliament

Grace Shin, asst. news editor

Senior George Maroutsos traveled to Athens, Greece, as a participant of the Parliament of Youth from Sept. 3-Sept. 12.

“I was chosen to be a representative from the United States to speak [to] the Greek Parliament […] in the Parliament building and give my feedback on situations that students are facing in schools [today],” Maroutsos said.

According to The Hellenic Parliament Foundation’s website, this educational program has been organized since 1994 in conjunction with the Ministry of National Education, the Ministry of Social Welfare in Greece and the Ministry of National Education in Cyprus. The Parliament of Youth allows for Greeks ages 17 through 20 from around the world to participate in discussion with the Greek Parliament. George’s mother Betty Maroutsos commented on his experience in Greece.

“I think it was a wonderful experience for him to gain a little independence and actually be an adult for a week [to] see how things operate,” Betty said.

According to Betty, the principal at George’s Greek high school asks students if they want to participate in the program. George says that he had to take a test regarding the different aspects in the Greek culture, such as their politics, athletics, mythology and political figures. Then, he created a video and wrote an essay about the contributions he could make to Parliament. Last school year, George found out about his acceptance during class.

“I was ecstatic [when I found out about my acceptance],” George said. “I left class and called my mom because I was so happy to have the honor of representing the U.S. in the Greek Parliament.”

According to George, he spoke to Parliament about suicide awareness. He states that he chose that topic because a good friend of his had committed suicide three years ago. He also discussed his topic to the Speaker of the House and received feedback on it. Aside from speaking to Parliament, the program allowed for participants to indulge themselves in Greek culture by exploring Athens at night.

“[The participants] have an itinerary which they follow,” Betty said. “At night, they have outings [at] theaters, [with] music, or at a restaurant […] to familiarize them more with the Greek culture.”

Demetri Maroutsos, George’s older brother and South graduate, also did the same program during the summer of his junior year.

“I get a lot of independence traveling alone, and I gained a lot of interpersonal skills because I got to speak in front of the Minister of Education of Greece,” Demetri said. “I talked to them about the different problems with education around the world.”

George adds that he was also inspired by his brother to enter the program. Betty hoped that through this program, George would be able to get a better idea about what he wants to do in the future.

“[George has] been thinking about pursuing law when he goes to college, so I thought by being in an area like this, [he might] go into criminal justice or political science,” Betty said.