Feb 12, 2005

Mr Goudas Best Students Awards 2005

The best students of the school year 2004-2005 where awarded last night by Goudas Foods. The company supports distinguished youth and encourages their efforts by presenting them with Excellence Awards every year. 

Congratulations to all the winners who are making us all proud! 

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 Pan-Epirotic Federation 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 dolmades (grape leaves stuffed with rice), 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 local 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. 

Hariklia Simos


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