SANTA ANA—2011is a memorable year in the history of the Orange County Armenian Community as Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School proudly celebrated its 25th anniversary, serving as the only daily Armenian school, and for all the students that have passed through its doors, a second Armenian home.
On Saturday, March 12, Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School celebrated its 25th anniversary with a banquet held under the auspices of and with the attendance of Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian. The banquet was held at “Gugasian” Hall of Forty Martyrs Church.
Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian graced the eventful celebration with his presence, organized by the Minassian School Parent Teacher Organization and the School Board.
Present for the celebration were the Archpriest Hrant Yeretzian of the Forty Martyrs church, the church Board of Trustees and Ladies Auxilliary, representative of the A.R.F. Central Executive Committee Chris Guldjian Esq., Board of Regents representative Charlotte Sassoonian, ARS “Sevan”chapter chairwoman Mayda Injeyan, Homenetmen “Sartarabad”chapter representatives, Hamazkayin “Siamanto” chapter chairwoman Salpi Agopian, AYF “Aghpiur Serop” chapter chairman Sebouh Meguerditchian.
Attendees included committee and organizational representatives, previous Minassian School principals, alumni, benefactors and friends. Among the attendees were Minassian School benefactors Mr. and Mrs. Steve Minassian and their family, Dr. and Mrs. Garo Agopian, one of the Minassian School’s first parents and longtime supporters, Dr. and Mrs. Harut Barsamian, Armenian Center benefactor, and honorary guests Prof. Richard Hovannisian and wife, Dr. Vartiter Kotcholosian-Hovannisian.
Master of Ceremonies Honorable Judge Andre Mansourian, a parent of two Minassian School students, welcomed everyone. Archpriest Hrant Yeretzian blessed the tables and guests. Principal Kohar Zaher spoke first expressing congratulatory remarks, words of praise and highlighting successful endeavors. She said, “As we celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday and the hopes of tomorrow, I would like to honor all those who paved the way and recognize all those who continue to carry the school’s legacy forward.”
The very first Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School principal Lillie Merigian briefly recounted the initial days, the course the school took, the efforts of the Finance and Education committees, while remembering the key to the school’s success could not have been achieved without the Forty Martyrs church Pastor and Board of Trustees, as well as the community organizations, whose unselfish support helped the realization of the school’s mission.
Vaché Thomassian, a Minassian School graduate, gave a moving message recounting the day he bid farewell to his beloved school, friends and teachers in 1996. He read the book “The Fool” written by the Armenian writer Raffi, which was a parting gift from his Armenian teacher to all the graduates in his class. He analogized the protagonist’s mindset with those of the Orange County community members who were also “Fool” ish enough to want an Armenian school and worked towards that goal, and here we were celebrating the 25th anniversary of that “Fool”ish idea.
Sebouh Meguerditchian, also a Minassian School graduate, prepared a retrospective collage spanning 25 years, which he and his parents, Setrak and Ani Meguerditchian, donated. Longtime supporter Mr. Giro Donabedian prepared a professional 20 minute video, complementing the collage, highlighting the Minassian School’s 25 years.
Dr. Garo Agopian, the keynote speaker of the banquet, beautifully summed up the importance of the celebration, extolling the mission and role of the Armenian School in the instruction and development of our youth, and the role it plays in the community.
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian remembered his years as the spiritual leader of the Forty Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church during the time the Minassian School was founded, and his role as the first teacher of religion to the students. He commended the service and dedication of all those who had contributed in the past and who continue to contribute towards the future advancement of the school.
The Prelate remembered the late Grigor Kotcholosian, whose years of dedication and support to the Forty Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church in Orange County, where he resided, were not forgotten. His relative, U.C.L.A. Professor Richard Hovhanissyan, fulfilled Kotcholosian’s wish to bequeath $75,000 dollars to the Western Prelacy in order to establish a scholarship fund for the Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School, providing $5,000 dollars annually towards a deserving student’s tuition.
Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian read the letter of blessing from His Hollines Aram I, Catholicos of the Great House of Cilcia, written especially for the Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School’s 25th anniversary.
The official program came to a close with a candle lighting ceremony and the cutting of the 25th anniversary cake.
Congratulations to the Minassian School for 25 years of serving the Orange County Armenian community!