LOS ANGELES—The Armenian National Committee-Western Region announced on February 14 that it will be naming one of its awards the Zaruhy “Sara” Chitjian Armenian Genocide Education Award in honor of Ms. Chitjian’s exemplary commitment to Armenian causes and dedication to preservation of the Armenian heritage and teaching of the Armenian Genocide.
Chitjian was the first educator to bring Armenian history and cultural awareness programs to Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) students over the past 40 years. She has been and continues to be closely tied to the Armenian community and is known for her generous philanthropy. The Zaruhy “Sara” Chitjian Armenian Genocide Education Award will be presented to outstanding educators of Armenian descent who have gone above and beyond to teach and preserve Armenian history, culture, and voices of victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide.
This year, the recipients of the Zaruhy “Sara” Chitjian Armenian Genocide Education Award are educators Houry Mandjikian from Toll Middle School and Sean Abajian from LAUSD at the ANCA-WR Armenian Genocide Education Luncheon on Saturday, February 25, 11am at Dream Palace Banquet Hall in Glendale, California.
“The education committee is extremely pleased to honor a lifelong, outstanding educator by naming this legacy award after her. Though Sara was the first Armenian educator in public schools to teach Armenian history and culture, she is since then followed by numerous outstanding Armenian educators who continue, with passion, to tell our story,” noted Alice Petrossian, ANCA-WR Education Committee Chair. “We are honored to celebrate two of those very talented educators, Houry Mandjikian and Sean Abajian. We look forward to celebrating many more Armenian educators with the Zaruhy ‘Sara’ Chitjian Armenian Genocide Education Award in the years to come,” added Petrossian.
Mandjikian is a teacher at Toll Middle School, where she has chaired the Armenian Genocide Committee for the past 7 years. Her exemplary commitment to teach the Toll Middle School community about Armenian culture and history, not only brings awareness to the Armenian genocide, but also highlights crimes against humanity that have plagued our collective history, and continue to haunt us today. Furthermore, Mandjikian serves as a beacon of support for her peers, and ensures that they have the appropriate resources to teach various aspects of the Armenian culture.
Abajian is an LAUSD Teacher Advisor who has taught Armenian Genocide awareness through curriculum development and advocacy. Abajian is the Co-Founder of the Armenian American Teachers’ Association, and has helped develop a network of hundreds of Armenian American teachers. Abajian presented the Armenian Genocide Awareness resolution to the UTLA, which was passed by the UTLA’s House of Representatives. In May 2016, Abajian created an Armenian Genocide Awareness Salary Point workshop which was approved by LAUSD; the first of its kind in the nation’s 2nd largest school district. Abajian is an advocate for the inclusion of an Armenian-American studies course as part of the Ethnic Studies resolution implementation.
Last week, the Armenian National Committee Western Region’s Education Committee announced the names of seventeen other outstanding educators to receive the ANCA-WR Armenian Genocide Education Award, honoring their ongoing dedication to teach about the Armenian Genocide and Armenian history. Houry Mandjikian and Sean Abajian will be accepting the Zaruhy “Sara” Chitjian Armenian Genocide Education Award alongside the following fellow teaching professionals:
Alicia Harris, Crescenta Valley High School
Brad de la Garza, Toll Middle School
Brent Beerman, Crescenta Valley High School
Christina Fahad, Burbank High School
Erin Perusse, El Camino High School
Frank Perez, San Benito High School
Gabor Kincses, San Fernando High School
Genely Chan, Pasadena High School
Grace Sheldon-Williams, Glendale High School
Heidi Suburu, Endeavour Elementary School
Kathi Chaplar Beerman, Crescenta Valley High School
Ken Rice, John Muir Middle School
Kevin Henry, Verdugo Hills High School
Mary Janzen, Emma Duncan Polytechnical High School
Mayte Hernandez, Pasadena High School
Peter Paccone, San Marino High School
William Jenkins, Pasadena High School
Offer your sincere respects to these fine educators by joining the ANCA-WR Education Committee’s Armenian Genocide Educator Awards Luncheon at 11am on Saturday, February 25 at Dream Palace Banquet Hall on 510 E Broadway, Glendale, California 91205.
Purchase tickets at ancawr.org/luncheon/register. For Additional information and sponsorship opportunities visit ancawr.org/luncheon or call 818.500.1918.
The Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region is the largest and most influential Armenian American grassroots advocacy organization in the Western United States. Working in coordination with a network of offices, chapters, and supporters throughout the Western United States and affiliated organizations around the country, the ANCA-WR advances the concerns of the Armenian American community on a broad range of issues.