CRESCENTA VALLEY, CA—The Armenian Center in Crescenta Valley was abuzz with excitement on Saturday, March 20, as members from seven chapters of the Armenian Youth Federation came together to compete in what has become the most anticipated educational event on the AYF’s yearly calendar.
The annual educational Quiz Bowl has been hosted by the AYF’s Crescenta Valley ‘Zartonk’ Chapter since 2006. This year, it pitted seven chapters against each other in a fast-paced historical trivia competition that tested members’ knowledge of the history behind the names of AYF chapters.
“Every year, we try to pick a topic that is informative yet interesting and a novel subject to many members–something they do not have in-depth exposure to,” said Sanan Haroun, a member of the chapter’s executive body. “This year, therefore, we chose the history behind AYF chapter names.”
Haroun explained that each of the 14 chapter’s in the AYF’s western region derived their names from a unique moment, place or individual from our national history. Some were names after revolutionary heroes, while others after historic cities or movements.
“Our chapter, ‘Zartonk,’ for example, was named in honor of the Armenian Enlightenment–a period covering the 18th and 19th centuries, when dedicated intellectuals and activists tirelessly laid the groundwork for a literary, cultural and political awakening for the Armenian people,” she said. “The Montebello chapter is named after the famed activist, Vahan Cardashian, who set the foundation for Armenian political advocacy in the United States. He founded of the American Committee for the Independence of Armenia (ACIA), the precursor to today’s Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).“
Though every AYF member is familiar with the names of each of the organization’s chapters, the history and legacy behind these names is not always as well known.
“It was really significant and interesting for us to learn about the history of the chapter names in our organization” said Vache Thomassian, a member of the Hollywood ‘Musa Dagh’ chapter. “Each of the chapters’ names holds an important part of Armenian history and I don’t think any comprehensive attempt had been made, until now, to present our membership with a truly in-depth look into this rich legacy.”
Hollywood, which took first place in the competition, traces its chapter name to the legendary mountain of Musa Dagh, where Armenians successfully held off an advancing Turkish army during the Genocide until they could be rescued.
For more information about the AYF or the annual educational Quiz Bowl, visit www.AYFwest.org.