Athens College was established in 1925 by a group of enlightened Greeks (Emmanuel Benakis and Stephanos Delta among them) with the support of American philhellenes, including Dr. Bert Hodge
Hill, Director of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
The Founders’ vision, which in fact was translated into reality even in the earliest years of the school’s existence, revolved around the creation of a school which fostered the “harmonious development of students’ intellectual, ethical and physical capabilities, especially character” by enhancing the existing educational system with “modern educational methods which took into account the Greek nation’s history, traditions, culture and specific needs.”
Athens College (and its sister school, Psychico College, founded in 1980) is owned by the Hellenic-American Educational Foundation, a non-profit organization with facilities located in Psychico (Middle and High Schools and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program) and Kantza in eastern Attica (two elementary schools: Bodossakio and Latsio).
When it first began, in October 1925, Athens College occupied a rented building on 18 Androu Street in the heart of Athens. The school moved to Psychico in 1929. That same year, the Benaki Hall was dedicated by Eleftherios Venizelos, then Greece’s Prime Minister and an ardent supporter of the school. In his speech during the dedication ceremony, Venizelos made some memorable remarks:
". . . Private schools are where the greatest and most successful innovations may flourish: loosely supervised by the State and complying with broad State guidelines, private schools enjoy the freedom which public schools lack and, therefore, may achieve great progress. This is the kind of progress we expect Athens College to achieve. This is my judgment of the significance of the College.”
Ever since those early times, the College has lived up to the expectations of Eleftherios Venizelos and its other visionary founders by fully preparing its students successfully to meet the requirements of higher education and the demands of their careers and, also, by developing its distinct pedagogical character, its unique educational offering, philosophy and mission (all of which have created a sterling reputation for the school, at home and abroad).
Two of the College’s hallmark features are:
- The implementation of a curriculum which, according to the College’s founding principles and its creators’ objectives, aims at proffering not simply a body of knowledge but, rather, a multifaceted and comprehensive education which molds young people into well-integrated members of society and active citizens, with a sense not only of professional but also of social responsibilities.
- The school’s extensive Scholarship Program which allows
deserving students to attend our institution irrespective of their families'
Further information on the College’s history is detailed in the following publications:
• Homer Davis, The Story of Athens College: The First Thirty-Five Years
• Dimitris Karamanos, Athens College, 1925-2000: Turning Points and Milestones (in Greek)
Extensive references specific to the College’s cultural and artistic traditions and its contribution in this realm are covered in Soul Nurturing – Enjoyment of Life: The Cultural and Artistic Tradition and Contribution of Athens College from the Time of Karolos Koun and Minos Dounias through the Present (in Greek)
These books are available at the Permanent Bazaar, a College tradition open year-round in Psychico (at the Angelikoussio-Chandrio Closed Gymnasium), and through ASTIR Publishing House (10 Lykourgou Street, Athens – Tel: 210 3246069).