LOS ANGELES–It has become a tradition for the Armenian Relief Society of the Western US (ARS-WR) Regional Executive to collectively honor Armenian graduates from public high schools–in cooperation with the local chapters–which select and provide merit awards to the graduates. This year’s merit award night hosted by the local "Mayr" Hollywood Chapter–was held on June 5–at Saint Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church–Garabedian Hall in Los Angeles.
This year–forty-two outstanding students were selected by nine Southern-California chapters. The students were a diverse group of valedictorians–honor roll and key club members; drama performers; swimmers and dancers; tennis–volleyball–and basketball players; coaches–hospital volunteers–Armenian Youth Federation members–science and Armenian club members. They were born in far away places like Tehran–London–and Montreal–or locally in Burbank and Pasadena. Some were planning on attending local universities such as the University of California–Los Angeles (UCLA) or traveling further to Stanford University.
Along with the graduates–their parents and siblings–their public school counselors also attended the event. In May 2006–high school graduates living in the Fresno and San Francisco areas received their awards during events organized by their local ARS chapters.
At the Hollywood event–ARS-WR Regional Executive Vice-chair–Karine Barikian-Setian–made the opening remarks–and Regional Executive Chair–Angela Savoian–gave the keynote message. Following receipt of their certificates from the Regional Executive–the graduates received their monetary awards from the respective chapter chairs or representatives.
During her speech to the award winners–Angela Savoian said: "If you really want to make a difference–no one can stop you. Because the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of knowledge–or a lack of money–but rather lack of will."
She added–"I ask you today to study hard–make a difference and never forget who you are–where you came from and to take on the mantle of service I offer to you."