FRESNO–The Armenian Community School of Fresno–soon to be the “Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School”–officially marked the beginning of a new era as students, board members, and local clergy broke ground on the school’s recently acquired property in Clovis.
Speaking under the shade of two large oaks, Student Body President Arlen Pilavian opened the ceremonies by greeting the crowd of more than 200 supporters that assembled for the Sunday afternoon event. Principal Rosie Bedrosian next acknowledged special individuals in attendance, including members of the original board that established the school in 1977 as well as current and former staff that have served the school during its 30 year history. Bedrosian also expressed gratitude to the school’s benefactor, Charlie Keyan, whose $685,000 contribution made possible the purchase of the 2.3 acre property. Keyan, who is recovering from an illness, was unable to participate in the ceremony. The school will be renamed in honor of Keyan’s unprecedented donation.
Following an introduction of the school’s educational board, the spiritual leaders from the five Armenian community churches blessed the soil and prayed for the school’s continued success. Clergy members included Father Vahan Gostantian of the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church, Father Arshen Aivazian of the St. Paul Armenian Apostolic Church, Father Yeghia Hairabedian of the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church, Reverend Ara Guekguezian of the Pilgrim Armenian Congregational Church, and Reverend Mgrdich Melkonian of First Armenian Presbyterian Church.
After the invocations, Board Chairman Jerry Kutumian summarized the school’s plans for developing the land. School officials envision a modern facility with a two-story classroom building, an office and assembly hall, a gymnasium, and play areas. Portable classrooms will be installed and an existing 2900 square foot structure will be used as the office/assembly hall until the new campus can be built. Kutumian additionally thanked Vicken Yepremian, who generously donated his realtor’s commission from the purchase of the property. City Councilman Nathan Magsig also took the podium to welcome the school to Clovis. Supporters were treated to lunch after the ceremonies.
The day’s celebration represents a complete turnaround from the ACSF’s situation four short months ago when it faced an uncertain future. At the time, the school lease at the St. Therese Catholic Church had expired, leaving it with few viable options for relocation. School officials stated that while securing the property is an important step, the board must now focus on raising funds for the construction of the new campus.