BY HAIG HOVSEPIAN
The Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools hosted its 11th annual reception on May 29 honoring the 2007 outstanding graduating Armenian students from the Glendale Unified School District. More than 180 students who earned a grade point average of 3.5 or greater were honored at the reception hosted at the Pacific Community Center. Joining the honorees were their parents, teachers, school counselors and administrators as well as GUSD and community leadership.
Following welcome remarks and introductions by CASPS Executive Director Arsineh H. Hovannisian and reception chairwoman Medea Kalognomos, 2005 CASPS honoree Lia Oganesyan served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremonies. In his invocation, Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America, commended the high achieving youth and encouraged them to always remember the community from which they came and to make use of their education to give back to the community. These sentimen’s were exemplified by long-time Glendale resident Chuck Sambar who was inspired to establish the Glendale Scholarship Endowment fund because of how the community took him in as a young immigrant and provided him an opportunity for a quality education with which to start his life in the United States.
The five honorees with the highest grade point average from each school represented addressed those gathered to recall their high school careers and touch upon themes of their individual successes. All of the honorees distinguished themselves not only academically, but in their extracurricular activities and community service. The evening’s program highlighted their many accomplishmen’s as students and members of their respective school communities.
Carla Garapedian, an investigative reporter and documentary producer who recently directed the anti-genocide movie Screamers, served as keynote speaker and addressed the graduates and families encouraging them to reach out and explore the universal nature of the issues that affect them. Her example served to encourage students to explore new ways in which they could make a positive difference in the world.
The evening’s ceremonies were concluded with congratulatory remarks by GUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Escalante and the presentation of scholarships and certificates. Laura Atoian, a longtime CASPS board member, presented the certificates. Honorees from each school received certificates from CASPS, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, State Senator Jack Scott and State Assemblyman Paul Krekorian. The honorees received their certificates and were congratulated by CASPS board members, their teachers, and GUSD administrators. The four honorees with the highest grade point average received a $500 scholarship from the Armenian Educational Foundation. AEF representative Mr. Alec Baghdasarian personally handed the checks to the students. This year, The Armenian Educational Foundation generously sponsored the CASPS scholarships for both Glendale Unified and Los Angeles Unified Local District 2 students.
As stated in Arsineh Hovannisian’s welcome address, since CASPS deals so much with problems and issues facing Armenian youth, this evening is an opportunity to celebrate the positive and highlight our students’ great achievemen’s.
Established in 1994 under the auspices of the Western Prelacy, The Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools was created by a group of concerned educators and citizen leaders to lay the foundation for a grassroots organization that would help address the social and educational needs of immigrant school children. Working in collaboration with school districts and administrators, students and parents, CASPS has served the community in various capacities through its various programs. To date, the multilingual programs have served over 3500 children and parents across ethnic groups in the Glendale and Los Angeles Unified School Districts.