After two months of exciting competitions–Homenetmen’s Western Regional Executive Committee hosted the 20th Annual California Armenian Student Athletic Games (KAHAM) closing ceremonies on March 14 at Glendale College Stadium. Proud parents–children–principals–athletic directors–and faculty from eleven Southern California Armenian schools assembled to close another memorable KAHAM tournament.
Homenetmen TV broadcaster Nora Chaparian–was the event’s master of ceremonies for. She welcomed the dignitaries present–who included Homenetmen Central Executive Committee members Mher Tavitian and Manuel Marselian–Prelate Moushegh Mardirossian’s representative rev. Ashod Kambourian–Glendale City Council member Dave Weever–Chair of the Glendale College Board of Directors Dr. Armine Hagopian–Glendale School District Board member Greg Krikorian–and all of the principals present from the respective participating schools. Chaparian also welcomed all who were present–stating that the spectators on hand represented the spirit and support that drives the Armenian student.
Following the welcoming–the color guard represented by Homenetmen’s Cresenta Valley "Shant" Chapter’s scouts–entered the stadium followed by the Homenetmen Western Region Marching Band. Once in place–the marching band played the American–Armenian–and Homenetmen anthems.
Immediately following the anthems–the ten schools represented in this year’s KAHAM games paraded into the stadium. Fervor arose in the crowd as each school was introduced. The athletes and faculty from each school–proudly wearing their school athletic uniforms–and lead by their school flags and banners–marched into and around the stadium. Students waved to the crowd–especially to their parents–in their spotlight victory lap.
The schools represented at this year’s KAHAM games were Alex Pilibos–Ari Giragos Minassian–Armenian Sisters Academy–Mesrobian–Merdinian–Mekhitarian–Hovsepian–Chamlian–Sahag Mesrob–and Ferrahian.
Homenetmen Western Regional Executive Committee member Shake Zohrabian conveyed the Executive Committee’s message to all present–thanking especially the parents and volunteers who helped make this event successful for the Southern California Armenian community.
She stated that without the parents and their tireless efforts to bring their children to competitions over the past eight weeks–the KAHAM games could not have been a success. "Over 500 athletes between the ages of 6-12 years old competed in these games over the past eight weeks. Homenetmen is very proud to help facilitate these games which included competitions in basketball–volleyball–soccer–track and field–and table tennis."
Representing all of the participating schools and their principals–Mesrobian principal–Hilda Saliba–thanked and praised Homenetmen for its efforts not only in putting together this year’s KAHAM games–but also in the perpetual work it performs to maintain and protect the Armenian identity within our school children.
"Today you see an excellent example of what KAHAM is all about. I would like to thank all those individuals who participated in these games." Saliba continued–"The mission for all our schools is to help foster the Armenian youth in today’s society. To actually teach our students whit it means to be Armenian–along with the community’s involvement to help maintain that Armenian spirit within our youth. Through the KAHAM games–it is evident that Homenetmen’s mission is also the same." She also thanked the parents–the teachers–as well as her fellow principals that commit their school’s resources to these games as the benefits are evident to all those that were present.
Again with enthusiasm–this time not only within the spectators–but also with the assembled students–Western Regional Executive Committee Chairman Viggen Davidian–along with Regional Executive Committee Athletic Director Vicken Apelian–as well as the ten school principals met to announce and distribute trophies and medals to this year’s KAHAM champions. As each event and division winner was announced–the pride and spirit in each of the winning team’s members became evident as the hurried to the main platform to accept their accolades.
After the athletic trophies and medals were all given out–the Homenetmen Western Regional Committee awarded each of the school principals a plaque of appreciation for their involvement and participation in this year’s KAHAM games.
Speaking on behalf of Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Rev. Ashod Kambourian stated that since its inception–Homenetmen has always been the venue that allows the Armenian youth to come together and grow spiritually–mentally–and physically.
"We also know that Homenetmen’s ideals and teaching are not only an internal mechanism–but also a means to assist the community with its needs with the Armenian Youth–as we have seen here through Homenetmen’s duty to the local Armenian Schools. Of course–there are winners here; however–there are no losers. All of the athletes take back with them the memories of their competitions–as well as the new friends they have made. Homenetmen’s spirit is now embedded in the hearts of all of these athletes," stated Rev. Kambourian.
Commenting on the successful tournament after the ceremony–Regional Athletic Director Vicken Apelian–stated that–"It is through the Regional Athletic Committee–the teachers–parents–as well as the other volunteers that make this tournament the success that the community has come to expect it being over the past 20 years."
The following is a list of the competitions and the associated overall winners.