FRESNO—The Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School held its 37thAnnual Banquet, bringing together more than 250 community members for a night of music, song, and celebration. The event was held in the Haig and Isabel Berberian Hall of St. Paul Armenian Church.
In his opening remarks, emcee and Board Secretary Shaunt Yemenjian announced that the CKACS has received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, which recognizes schools that offer a high quality of education according to its rigorous standards.
“Accreditation solidifies what we’ve always felt about the school—that it is a worthy and necessary institution that offers an exceptional education to our youth,” said Yemenjian. “This achievement is very much in keeping with our ‘Raise the Bar’ theme for this year.”
Yemenjian also welcomed the school’s special guests, including Rev. Father Arshen and Yn. Sirarpi Aivazian of St. Paul Armenian Church, Rev. Fr. Vahan Gosdanian of Holy Trinity Armenian Church, and Rev. Father Yeghia and Yn. Roberta Hairabedian of St. Gregory Church, Fowler. Also present were California State University, Fresno Armenian Studies Coordinator, Prof. Barlow Der Mugrdechian and Gomidas Institute Director and Historian Ara Sarafian, who was in town from London for a series of lectures.
Following the Flag Salute and recitation of the student’s oath Ashagertagan Ookhduh by the Student Council and students, a delicious meal was served by parents and community volunteers.
CKACS School Board Chairman, Marshall D. Moushigian took the podium to report on the school’s financial state. With an initial contribution of $5,000 from the Sona Saroyan Estate, the school has established an endowment fund to support its educational programs and capital improvement projects. Moushigian also gave special thanks to the CKACS’ major patrons—the UCLA Dream Fund, the Bertha and John Garabedian Foundation, the Roxie and Azad Joseph Foundation, and the Leon S. Peters Foundation. The board expects that the recent financial audit and WACS accreditation will open new doors for grants and educational opportunities.
The highlight of the evening was the dazzling performance by vocalist and violinist Lucine Fyelon, whose musical selections included classical, operatic, and Armenian works. Her powerful rendition of Ov Dzidzernag brought the crowd to its feet in appreciation. Fyelon was accompanied by her mother and concert pianist Sirarpi Zirekyants.
After introducing the school’s staff, Principal Zaroohi Der Mugrdechian stressed that the CKACS depends on the dedication and commitment of the parents who not only bring their children to school ready to learn but also work on numerous fund raising activities and events throughout the year. She thanked the local Daughters and Knights of Vartan for a large covered sand box for the PreKindergarten and Homenetmen for an electronic scoreboard to be used for the school’s sports activities.
In what is becoming a banquet tradition, the CKACS Board gave out its annual community appreciation awards. This year’s recipients are long-time supporters Pat Sevoian, and Robert and Jackie Manselian as well as Barret and Caroline Arakelian who have been an integral part of the school since the 1990s. A special and surprise tribute went out to banquet coordinator and current CKACS Board member Serpouhie Messerlian, who served on the steering committee that founded the school in 1977.
The evening’s program also included fund raising by parent Hrair Messerlian and CSUF Armenian Studies Professor Sergio La Porta as well as a silent auction featuring group art projects from each class.
CKACS’ next event will be International Night, which will take place on Saturday, May 3rd on the school grounds. Each class will represent a selected nation and will perform dances and serve cuisine from those countries. Call 559-323-1955 for more information or check the school website at www.ckacs.org.