LOS ANGELES—After four years of successful fundraising, the All-Armenian Student Association Tri-Colored Graduation Cord initiative has financed the purchase of a microvan for the Medovka village school. Five young students from Kruglaya Shishka, a village 3 miles walking distance from Medovka, as well as future students of the school will now be driven to and from school with the help of the microvan.
The All-ASA has raised over $5,000 in sales of graduation cords – made in Dilijian by local Armenian artists – bearing the Armenian tricolor. The project began in 2016 as part of an initiative with OneArmenia, a non-profit organization fostering the production of honey in Armenian villages. The cord project has grown since its inceptions, with cords being sold across the United States and Canada. Proceeds are used to support the Medovka School near Stepanavan.
Much of the project’s evolution is owed to Khachig Joukhajian, who is the only Teach for Armenia fellow from the United States, a member of the Shant Student Association, and a member of the All-ASA. Beginning in 2016, Joukhajian spent two years teaching history at the Medovka School for his fellowship, where he met Susanna Avdalyan, the school’s dedicated principle and her husband, Gagik Avdalyan, the school’s caretaker. With Khatchig’s guidance and funds raised by the cord project, a fence was built around a local park where a girls’ soccer team now practices regularly. The funds also supported an indoor gym, complete with renovated floors and walls, and all of the equipment needed for students to engage in physical education through the winter.
This past summer, former All-ASA president and current Senior Advisor Ripsime Biyazyan went back to Medovka and met with the current Teach for Armenia fellow, Misak Martirosyan. In meetings with faculty and staff, they learned how to help support the Medovka School and its community and planned for future projects.
Earlier this year, staff and faculty received notification from the new administration of the Armenian government that a new school will be built in Medovka in the coming years. This changed All-ASA funding priorities towards more adaptable academic tools and extracurricular equipment such as laptops, an auditorium microphone, and a Ping-Pong table. However, when the school learned that Kruglaya Shishka students would be joining them, they realized that parents had no consistent means of getting their children to school, especially during the heavy winters. All-ASA took action, gathering more support for the school and raising funds for a microvan to help the Kruglaya Shishka students commute to school and, simultaneously, enabling the school to offer academic excursions around the region.
After the annual All-ASA Halloween party, those who collectively attended were able to fundraise the remaining necessary funds. The All-ASA was then able to help Misak Martirosyan obtain a visa to travel to Los Angeles to present the work in Medovka to the new All-ASA representatives and collect the needed funds from the organization for the purchase of the microvan. Martirosyan also brought back more of the cords made in Dilijian by a small factory for the continuation of sales for graduating Armenian students in North America.
The sale of the cords will begin immediately and will carry on through the end of June. They are a great gift for someone graduating, as they allow for Armenian students across North America to be unified by our culture and connected to products from our country. Cords can be purchased online for $20, including shipping. If a student would like to purchase a cord without the cost of shipping they can contact their respective All-ASA representative at their school.
The All-Armenian Student Association works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASAs in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, the leadership development of its members, and the virtues of community service.