The Committee for Armenian Students in Public Schools held a community event at the Verdugo Hills High School auditorium. The event was in honor of high achieving sophomores, juniors and seniors, attending LAUSD Local Districts Northeast and Northwest. The celebration began with a beautiful reception, followed by the pledge of allegiance. A warm welcome address was given by CASPS Executive Director, Arsineh Hovannisian, as well as the introduction of Master of Ceremonies, Rafael Gevorkyan, whose heartfelt message to the honorees was appreciated by all present.
Saticoy Elementary Dual Language Program first grade students delighted everyone with a recitation of a poem in Armenian, and Reverend Arsen Kassabian representing Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, gave an invocation and blessing to the large audience of students, parents, administrators and LAUSD officials. Further entertainment was provided by Verdugo Hills High student Arpine Sinani on the piano and by Shushan Dance Studio with impeccable performances by LAUSD students.
LAUSD Deputy Superintendent, Vivian Ekchian spoke eloquently about her own journey, offered words of appreciation for the contributions of immigrants to our country, and cited family values and education as stepping stones to reaching one’s goals and living a fulfilling life. Linda Del Cueto, Superintendent of LAUSD Local District Northeast shared her affection for the Armenian community, emphasizing generosity and love of education as the most endearing traits of Armenian families. She was followed by Nader Delnavaz who represented LAUSD Local District Northwest Superintendent, and delivered the latter’s message of congratulations and encouragement to the honorees.
CASPS LAUSD member, Amy Bazikian, Pupil Services and Attendance Counselor at LAUSD LDNE introduced Art Contest winner Anna Ramazyan. Anna arrived in the U.S. just a few months ago, and has been working hard on learning English. She participated in the contest, and received thundering applause for her description of her work, and how she had envisioned and depicted the contest’s theme: Peace.
Keynote speaker, City of Los Angeles Council Member, Paul Krekorian spoke about his “activist” ancestors, illustrating how each of us has the potential to make a difference, as long as we abide by our values and ethical principles. He also offered students information about internships at City Hall, and invited them to visit his website and communicate with his staff.
Scott Schmerelson, member of LAUSD Board of Education, addressed parents and the Armenian community, listing the qualities he especially respects, and crediting families for the success of the younger generation. He then showed his lapel with the forget-me-not flower symbolizing the Armenian Genocide of 1915. He indicated that most people know nothing about it, and strongly encouraged everyone to welcome every opportunity to share the facts of the calamities endured by one and a half million Armenians, at the turn of the 20th Century.
MC Gevorkyan then invited the honorees with the highest GPAs to address the audience. Diana Arutyunyan of Grant High, as well as triplets Lauren, Nicole, and Megan Isagholian of Cleveland High shared their thoughts and visions for the future. They each received monetary gifts of $500, sponsored by the Armenian Educational Foundation “AEF.”
LAUSD Parent Community Facilitator Shakeh Ayvazian and Van Nuys High Counselor Anna Keshishyan conducted the awards and certificates ceremony. Hundreds of students walked up to the microphone to introduce themselves, and each were congratulated by CASPS, LAUSD officials and their respective schools’ administrators and posed for group school photos. All honorees received certificates of achievement from CASPS; graduating seniors also received beautiful commendations from elected officials.
CASPS extends sincere appreciations to Verdugo Hills High School Principal Arturo Barcenas and his staff, for opening his school and state of the art auditorium, for this meaningful educational tradition in honor of high achieving Armenian youth.