GLENDALE—Every June, a new crop of public high school graduates, their family members and counselors, join the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA (ARS) family for an awards night in their honor. The ARS Regional Executive awards certificates and the ARS chapter executives award the monetary rewards for their continued education. This year the get together to acquaint the young graduates with their community organization took place on June 3, 2013, at the ARS Regional Headquarters.
Following the ARS anthem, ARS Regional Executive Board Chairperson Lena Bozoyan welcomed everyone, thanking the parents for their efforts, and encouraging the graduates to work hard to reach their goals and not succumb to any difficulties that they encounter. She said that the ARS expects them as educated youth to become the guardian angels of the ARS and the Armenian culture. Bozoyan hoped that once they complete their education, the ARS will accept their membership with open arms.
The keynote speaker, Dr. Tamar Kataroyan, an Assistant Principal at the Glendale High School had just received her PhD from the USC School of Education. Raised in Fresno in a Homenetmen and ARS family, as Kataroyan had moved to the Los Angeles basin, she became an athlete and a trainer for the Homenetmen, participating in women’s basketball team games around the globe.
Dr. Kataroyan praised the ARS mission and vision, and was quick to point out to the graduates that they should not fear change and their Armenian identity. She even suggested to spell their names, so others get them right. Dr. Kataroyan’s approach was to tell a story on each of the different points that she made as prerogatives to succeed in life:
- Find a passion;
- Find balance in life;
- Always remember who you are where you came from;
- Be kind, respectful and honest; and
- Love life.
The speaker reminded the students the Homenetmen motto, “Elevate yourself and others with you” (“Partsratsir Partsratsoor”), which has guided her steps, and the will of the Armenian people to persevere in the words of the famous Fresno writer, William Saroyan. Her delightful and insightful comments were very well received by the audience.
The following graduates were the awardees:
- Nora Melkonyan, Burbank High School
- Diana Muradyan, Burbank High School
- Rita Semerjian, John Burroughs High School
- Arda Bedoyan, Granada Hills High School
- Lori Mandjikian, Crescenta Valley High School
- Anahit Kashishian, Anderson Clark Magnet High School
- Teren Yedikian, Palos Verdes Peninsula High School
- Anny Aslanian, Montebello High School
- Christine Kupelian, Schurr High School
- Mihran Hovhannesyan, Hoover High School
- Andrew Samuel Alwin, Hoover High School
- Rita Hasserjian, Glendale High School
- Natalin Daldalian, Glendale High School
- Mane Avagyan, Glendale High School
- Krikor Atamian, Reseda High School
- Regina Agopian, Taft High School
- Mariam Zadikyan, Van Nuys High School
- Kathryn Dermenjyan, Van Nuys High School
- Jivan Hovsepyan, Marshall Fundamental Secondary School
- Christian Vasken Bedoyan, Pasadena High School
- Lusine Maslakyan, Apex Academy
- Rose Rumyan, John Marshall High School
- David Khudaverdyan, Hollywood High School
Following the award ceremony, ARS regional and chapter executives, had a chance to meet with the awardees during the reception. In addition to the 23 graduates who received awards at this ceremony, some chapters provided the awards during the school award ceremonies.
Our collective hope is a bright future for all the graduates during this season of endings and beginnings.