By Jenny Kiljian
Special to Asbarez
MARINA DEL REY–The US Department of Treasury held a Kick-Off Luncheon on June 19 at the Marriot Beach Resort in Marina Del Rey–during which they honored Audrey Guedelekian–winner of the state US Savings Bond Poster Competition.
Guedelekian’s winning "Reach for the Stars" poster illustrates a wall in the foreground –beyond which one sees a child who has climbed to the highest rung of the ladder in order to reach for the highest star on the American Flag. For Audrey–this shows that despite constant obstacles in one’s way–with the help of the US Savings Bond each child will be able to reach the highest star.
Using acrylic paint and cardboard–it took one week of hard work for Audrey to complete the drawing. The original artwork–along with the 51 other state winners–is on display at the Children’s Museum in Washington–D.C. All 52 posters are also currently displayed in major airports throughout the United States.
Audrey will be entering the seventh grade–and–for the past three years–has been under the tutelage of Nazareth Karnikian – longtime art teacher at Rose and Alex Pilibos School in Hollywood–CA. Describing Audrey as "one of his best students," Karnikian approached her with the idea and the two worked on the poster together. "I put my hopes in her and she succeeded," says the proud teacher. Audrey immediately agreed to participate in the competition without the slightest hesitation after learning about it from her teacher. She researched previous winners and thought it would be a good forum to participate in. In the past–Audrey has also won third place in a national competition organized by the Automobile Association of America (AAA)–the theme being traffic safety.
The young artist currently attends the Atanian Art School and is interested in pursuing career in the arts. According to her father–Kaloust Guedelekian–Audrey’s talent was apparent at a very young age. Rather than drawing abstract lines and scribbles–she would draw circles. Those circles eventually became faces–and Audrey became an artist–following in the footsteps of her grandfather–Hovanes Guedelekian.
The Honorable Kathleen Connell–Controller of the State of California–was they keynote speaker at the luncheon. She commended the US Treasury Department for creating more awareness about savings among Americans–and emphasized the role adults must play in teaching children to do the same.
On the State Controller’s website–www.sco.ca.gov–there is a link titled "Kids Sense," where children can go to learn more about the California economy–the role of the Controller–how to budget and save money–and play several economy-oriented games.
Controller Connell characterized Audrey as a terrific artist–whose artwork represents a clear reflection of the future–which tends to be seen better through the eyes of children. Audrey Guedelekian is an exemplary representative of the Armenian community. Matters of finance and economy are often considered to be difficult for children to understand. Audrey’s ability to engage the subject–however–and manifest it into the award-winning poster proves that children are capable of being financially responsible. Using Audrey as an example–the parents and teachers of the community now face the challenge of educating their children and students–in order for them to understand this subject as fully and expressively.