BY KYLE KHANDIKIAN
The Armenian American Educators Association, a non-profit organization uniting Armenian educators nation-wide, held its Third Annual Scholarship Luncheon honoring local high school seniors of Armenian descent for academic excellence and extracurricular and community activism on Sunday, May 16. Six graduating Armenian-American students were awarded $500 each for their outstanding work throughout their high school careers.
Astghik Sinanyan of Van Nuys High School, Ani Bezirdzhyan of Clark Magnet High School, Talar Alexanian of Crescenta Valley High School, Lusine Chinkezian of John Burroughs High School, Lyolya Hovhannisyan of Glendale High School, and Kyle Khandikian of Holy Martyrs Armenian High School were selected from a pool of 45 applicants as recipients of this year’s scholarship award. Representing public and private schools, the students, along with parents, teachers, AAEA members, and community leaders gathered in Glendale at the MGM Banquet Hall for an afternoon of performances, food, and music.
The scholarship recipients were awarded according to their area of emphasis: community activist, future educator, future visual and performing artist, and recent immigrant. After brief introductions given by mistress of ceremonies Anna Kojaoghlanian and founder of the AAEA Dr. Harry Bedevian, the students were given the opportunity to share their talents in all areas of the visual and performing arts, including singing, composing, dancing, and poetry recitation.
Astghik Sinanyan, a recent immigrant recipient, performed a beautiful Armenian dance, followed by poem recitations by Ani Bezirdzhyan in English, a future educator, and by Talar Alexanian in Armenian, a community activist. Kyle Khandikian, also a community activist, read excerpts from an article by him featured in the Asbarez about his volunteer experience in Armenia.
Following the performances and delicious food and fun music and dancing, provided by DJ Elegante, the students were awarded their scholarships, which included a check for $500 and a certificate of recognition from California State Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield of the 40th District. The students were all recognized for all of their exceptional successes and achievements, and will all be attending a four-year university or a two-year college this coming fall.
The AAEA also had raffles and prizes planned for all those who attended. Founded in 2006, the AAEA, “strives to build a network of educators and students of Armenian ancestry. It is an organization of dedicated educators of Armenian heritage whose mission is to contribute to and enhance the educational environment and opportunities of Armenian American students.”