With the theme of Ascension overlaying the evening, the ARS Nairy Chapter of Montebello gathered to celebrate. The event was organized in recognition of select graduates from area high schools, the acceptance into its ranks of its youngest and newest member, and Hampartsoom, on Thursday, May 23.
This year’s recipients of the Alice Madenlian Scholarship were Emily Edilian from Applied Technology Center, Susanna Tovmasyan from Montebello High School, Anna Minasyan from Schurr High School, and Ani Khachigian from Mesrobian School. They all shared their future plans and promised to remain active in the community. Two former Nairy Scholarhip recipients, Karine Kuilanoff and Dr. Katherine Fundukian Thorossian, addressed the audience and thanked the Nairy Chapter for their support. Chapter President, Sona Fundukian, congratulated the evening’s scholars and reminded them that they represent our future and that our common roots will sustain and nourish them.
The scholarship, which began in the late 70’s, had originally been awarded to Mesrobian School students. However, as the Armenian population in the city grew, so did the number of extraordinary Armenian students in public schools. Alice Madenlian and Sona Fundukian, both educators in the Los Angeles public school system and Nairy Chapter members, recognized the opportunity to promote deserving graduates within the Montebello community.
Alice was the first Chairperson of the Armenian Relief Society, Western Region, U.S. She dedicated her life to the furthering of the ARS mission and made a profound difference in the Montebello community through her educational initiatives—all of which continue to serve our students to this day. Following her passing, the Nairy Chapter honored her legacy by awarding their scholarship in her name forevermore. ARS Nairy Chapter’s Preschool director, Lilit Barsegyan paid tribute, explaining what also made Alice a legend was how she became a mentor to many Nairy members and others, how she avoided the spotlight. Alice humbly and quietly dedicated herself to the Armenian community, the ARS, and her family.
Also, that evening, Violet Frederickson, one of the youngest individuals to ascend into the ARS Nairy Chapter ranks, took her oath with Sona Fundukian and ARS Regional Board Member, Anita Altounian, who had also first taken her oath in the Nairy Chapter.
Committee members of the event Arpik Najarian MC, Lillian Moloian, Valerie Solomont, Sylva Minassian, Lilit Barsegyan, Marie Peltekian, Takoush Simonian and program participants were commended for their vision and hard work by tokens of appreciations.
The evening’s finale was Hampartsoom. While Reverend Ashod Kambourian had
explained earlier the religious significance of the Ascension, Heghine Harboyan explained its cultural significance in Armenian and English and sang verses of the Ascension songs. Margo Ohanian then led the audience in the traditional custom of Hampartsoom with the selection of vidjaks (fortunes). Margo had prepared vidjaks, tastefully rolled in tricolored ribbons and, with the assistance of Vivian Frederickson, conducted the traditional ceremony of selecting your vidjak, or predicted fate for the year. The audience ended the evening with rousing renditions of “Ambi dagits choor eh galis” and, of course, “Hampartsoom Yaylah.”