GLENDALE—On the eve of its 45th anniversary, over 100 community members gathered at St. Mary’s Richard Tufenkian Preschool to celebrate the launch of the school’s modernization and expansion project. The celebration took place on Tuesday, December 3.
Enthusiasm for the future of the school was palpable as soon as guests walked through the gates, where they were greeted with a cocktail reception in the kindergarten classrooms which featured imaginative student artwork inspired by the modernization project. The school’s atrium, hallways, and open spaces were adorned with large-scale, architectural renderings of the prospective campus.
Among those in attendance were visionaries who have supported the school since its inception in 1975; alumni from the first graduating classes; a former director of the school; steadfast advocates of Glendale’s Armenian-American community; representatives from the Armenian Revolutionary Federation, the Armenian Educational Foundation, as well as St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church; members of the Tufenkian family, the school’s longstanding benefactors; as well as members of the school board and the Parent Support Committee’s Steering Board.
A chaperoned campus tour familiarized guests with the current layout of the school and identified areas in need of modernization and planned for expansion to incorporate fully-equipped learning centers integrating outdoor classrooms, including dedicated space for science, art, and nature exploration.
A dinner reception ensued in the school’s auditorium, again showcasing architectural plans and student interpretations of said plans. The invitation packet to the 45th gala celebration awaited guests at their seats. Following prayers offered by Archpriest Vazken Atmajian, Tufenkian School Director Arsine Aghazarian welcomed guests, and the program commenced.
School Board Chairperson Artin Shaverdian began his remarks by acknowledging the great human capital of those in attendance. “You were invited here today, because we identified you as community members committed to the advancement of all arenas of our community,” he said, “and you are keenly aware of the fact that all of our community’s successes are contingent on our collective efforts.” He continued to charge the audience with championing this project in the community at large.
He identified details about the project, including the already-engaged work with the City of Glendale, finances necessary to proceed with plans, and the projected timeline, while emphasizing the goal to align the school’s emergent curriculum that encourages exploratory and hands-on learning with its physical amenities.
Shaverdian highlighted the significance of the school’s coveted accreditation from the National Association of the Education of Young Children, which it has held for more than 20 years with high ratings. He conveyed the consistent successes of the school and its ever-growing waiting list, and assured guests that modernization and expansion is an absolute necessity for the school to continue to thrive for decades to come.
Aghazarian then shined a light on notable points, from the school’s history as well as the mission of the school, which, in brief, is to provide a research-based, high-quality early childhood education program rich with instruction of Armenian language and culture, in a safe and nurturing environment.
The school director underscored the significance of the school’s pursuit of individually-paced child development in an atmosphere that stimulates social and academic growth, in alignment with the Reggio Emilia approach and Outdoor Classroom child-centered philosophy. Aghazarian concluded her remarks by expressing her gratitude. “It is through the help and generosity of our parents, community members, and organizations, such as yourself, that our school continues to provide the best early childhood education for our children,” she said.
Attendees were then afforded a bird’s-eye view of the future campus via a fly-over video set to kindergarten students singing a traditional Armenian song.
Alumnus of Tufenkian Preschool and School Board member Gevik Baghdassarian shared personal anecdotes of his childhood experience at the school and spoke of the great sense of commitment his family and peers feel to the school, as well as to all Armenian educational endeavors in the community.
“This place is magical,” Baghdassarian said, and echoed Shaverdian’s sentiments that it is incumbent upon all members of the community to secure a solid foundation for multiple generations of young Armenian-Americans to come. “Let’s help this magic thrive and pledge to make this school even better than it is,” he implored.
He announced the near $100,000 in support garnered thus far from current Tufenkian parents.
Baghdassarian concluded his remarks by encouraging individuals to support the school, financially and otherwise, in this major capital campaign. He gave assurance that every bit of support will serve to advance the school’s mission and help cultivate the unlimited potential of our children, to guide them to become happy, healthy, and productive members of society, with a strong sense of Armenian identity.
The newly established website for the campaign was shown and a casual Q&A ensued. Guests left charged with excitement for the future of the school and with a mission to see this great project come to fruition.
The 45th anniversary gala celebration will take place at the California Science Center’s Endeavor Space Shuttle in the Samuel Oschin Pavilion, on Saturday, February 8, 2020.
For gala attendance and to give to the Tufenkian Modernization and Expansion Project, please visit the website.
Tufenkian Preschool is a 501(c)(3) organization. All contributions, less the value of any goods and/or services received, is tax deductible. To learn more about the school, visit the http://www.tufenkianpreschool.com/. For any other questions, please contact the School Board at schoolmodernization@TufenkianPreschool.com.