GLENDALE—An important event held during the June graduation season is an Armenian Relief Society of Western USA (ARS) awards program for public high school graduates. The graduates’ families and school counselors joined the ARS regional and chapter executives to honor the 24 bright deserving graduates on June 2, 2014, at the ARS Regional Headquarters.
ARS Regional Executive Board Chairperson Lena Bozoyan welcomed everyone, telling the parents that they can see the result of their efforts, congratulated the graduates and explained the purpose of the ARS awards night. She remarked, “An integral part of our mission has been to promote education, as well as the perpetuation of our culture.”
Bozoyan urged the graduates “To remain committed to community service and do your utmost to stay involved in efforts aimed at advancing the needs of our people, be they in the Diaspora, Armenia, Artsakh, Javakhk, or anywhere else in the world.”
The keynote speaker, Caspar Jivalagian, Esq., chairs the AYF Central Executive. He studied law at the University of British Columbia and earned his Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School in 2010.
Jivalagian recalled that when he graduated from high school, he wanted tips and advice. He prepared his comments accordingly and presented the following ideas to the graduates:
Always embrace the past and always look to the future
Don’t ever-ever-ever forget your roots
Graduates respect your parents; parents respect your children
Keep an open mind and keep learning
Stay true to your principles
Don’t give up
Jivalagian reminded the students about the easier choices that they had to make, while 99 years ago, the choices during the Genocide were about keeping their faith, fighting back and organizing. He advised them to find the thing in their lives that they are passionate about; do whatever it takes to be able to achieve that thing; and use their passion in whichever field it is to move the Armenian cause forward. He emphasized the fact that the graduates should strive to do all that they could possibly do to make a difference and have fun.
The ARS Regional Executive awarded certificates and executives from eight Southern California ARS chapters handed out a $500 monetary award to each of the 24 high school graduates selected to receive the award on the basis of high grade point average and a solid record of community service, as follows:
Anahid Chapter, San Fernando Valley
Mirna Miksi Kalayjian, Taft Charter High School
Hera Nalbandian, Reseda High School
Araz Chapter, Burbank
Zaruhi Varpetyan, John Burroughs High School
Haik Gharapeti-Nercessian, Burbank High School
Sharis Ghazeri, Burbank High School
Irina Hovhannisyan, Burbank High School
Arax Chapter, Torrance-South Bay
Karine Yedikian, South High School
Lara Abajian, South High School
Garo Hasholian, South High School
Mayr Chapter Hollywood
Edward Armen Galfayan, John Marshall High School
Robert Oganessian-John Marshall High School
Nairy Chapter, Montebello
Tigran Melkonian, Schurr High School
Harutun Davtyan, Montebello High School
Shaunt Tufenkjian, Montebello High School
Sepan Chapter, Glendale
Diana Davtyan, Hoover High School
Meri Ghazaryan, Glendale High School
Keysi Ekmekciyan, Glendale High School
Mary Pailevanian, Glendale High School
Sevan Chapter, Orange County
Vasken Najarian, Irvine High School
Lucy Mikhanjian, Irvine High School
Alique Cherchian, Garden Grove High School
Talin Chapter, La Crescenta
Nathalie Nalbandian, Crescenta Valley High School
Caroline Marie Oghlian, Crescenta Valley High School
Alan Tirdad Begian, Clark Magnet High School
Following the award ceremony, ARS regional and chapter executives, had a chance to meet with the awardees during the reception.
The ARS Sophia Chapter in Fresno provided similar $500 awards to Arshavir Kachichian from Bullard High School and Jack Ihanessian from Hoover High School.
The Armenian Relief Society of Western USA, established in 1984 and with regional headquarters in Glendale, CA, has 26 chapters and more than 1,200 members in four western states. The ARS-WUSA operates a Social Services Division and Child, Youth, and Family Guidance Center, and funds numerous youth programs, scholarships, and relief efforts. For further information, please visit www.arswestusa.org or call (818) 500-1343.