BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN GLENDALE–More than 100 Armenian-American Class of 1999 students of the Glendale Unified School District were honored Thursday by the Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools–during an awards banquet at Brandview Collection organized by CASPS and sponsored by the Western Prelacy. The students were recognized for their academic achievement and excellence.
The more than 400 attendees included parents–relatives and well wishers of the award recipients–as well as numerous Glendale Unified School District officials–principals–administrators–faculty–community leaders and organizational representatives.
Leading the pack of GUSD officials was Superintendent James Brown–who was joined by the GUSD Board of Education members–assistant superintendents–counselors–teachers and faculty from Glendale–Hoover and Crescenta Valley high schools.
Also attending the gathering were Rev. Vazken Atmadjian–Pastor of St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Glendale and representing Western Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian; Dr. Hagop Der-Megerdichian representing the Prelacy Executive Council; Stepan Kabadaian representing the St. Mary’s Board of Trustees; Vicken Hovsepian of the Prelacy Board of Regents whose members also attended. Representatives of the Homenetmen–the Armenian Relief Society–the Davitian/Mariamian Educational Fund and other community organizations also attended the banquet.
To encourage and congratulate the CASPS honorees–keynote speaker Ani Hovannisian presented a moving address about the meaning of being an Armenian student in the public school system.
She recounted her own experiences at Palisades High School–where–she said–she was one of four Armenian students–adding that at the time none of her school mates were familiar with Armenia’s.
Hovannisian encouraged the students to realize their dreams to their fullest potential and take advantage of the possibilities offered to them for professional and academic excellence.
Furthermore–she said–while the students attending the Glendale Unified School District did not have the task introducing their cultural heritage and ethnic identity–they did–however–face obstacles as children of newly immigrant Armenia’s.
Her message of maintaining and being proud of their national heritage was articulated through personal anecdotes about her own experience as an Armenian-American working in a field–broadcasting–wherein not much is known about the Armenian experience. Hovannisian recounted her efforts to introduce and educate the non-Armenian public about the perspectives and approaches which make the Armenian community unique.
The program began with Mistress of Ceremonies Evelyn Baghdasarian–herself a former CASPS honoree–welcoming the guests to the reception and leading the attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. Following the invocation by Rev. Atmadjian–CASPS committee member Marisa Sarian welcomed the officials and dignitaries