CLOVIS/FRESNO–The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School hosted its 31st Annual Banquet at the Fresno Armenian Community Center on Sunday, April 27. More than 150 community members attended the luncheon which was highlighted by a $40,000 donation from the Sophia Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society.
“Our school is truly a community institution in that it relies on many sources for financial assistance. Since the beginning of the school in 1977, the local social and fraternal organizations have been among our most steadfast supporters,” said Principal Rosie Bedrosian.
Bedrosian went on to acknowledge several members of the ARS in the audience and explained that the contribution, which will be received over the next 5 years, will help purchase an additional pre-Kindergarten classroom.
Jerry Janigian of the Knights of Vartan additionally announced that his organization is creating a scholarship fund to support one needy student each year. Earlier this year, the Knights of Vartan and the local Armenian General Benevolent Union held a New Year’s Eve banquet with the net proceeds going to the Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School. Janigian added that the two groups plan to make the New Year’s event an annual fundraiser for the school.
Master of Ceremonies and school board vice-president Ara Karkazian invited mayoral candidate Tom Boyajian to the podium. During his 8 year tenure on the city council, Boyajian helped establish the annual April 24th Flag Raising Ceremony as a Central Valley event. More recently, he has served on the school’s educational board.
Taking time-out from his busy campaign schedule, Boyajian spoke about his family’s history in the valley and praised the school’s staff, parents, board of education, and students for their hard work and dedication.
School Board President Jerry Kutumian then reflected on what has been a historical year for the school. In June 2007, philanthropist Charlie Keyan endowed the school with the necessary funds to purchase the property for a new Clovis campus. Sadly, Keyan passed away before the opening of the facility in March of this year.
“Charlie showed that it just takes one person to make difference,” said Kutumian to the audience, “you, too, as one person, can make a difference by supporting the school and becoming part of its future.”
The program also included a student recitation of two poems and a rendition of Gedashen and Sardarabad accompanied by music teacher Shoghig Papoyan Aladjian and Armenian language instructor Maral Markarian.
Armenian Community School alumnus Adrina Shamlian presented a generous donation and expressed how the school had made a positive impact on her life.
Along with introducing the faculty and staff, Bedrosian gave special recognition to Markarian, nursery teacher Annette Agulian, kindergarten teacher Jackie Chekerdemian, and 5-6th grade instructor Andrea MacDonald, who are completing their 10th year at the school.
Also attending the banquet were founding members of the Armenian Community School Serpouhie Messerlian, Vartkes Messerlian, and Meher Chekerdemian, who gave the opening invocation.
The local Armenian Cultural Foundation provided the Armenian Community Center hall at no cost to the school for this event.