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New Classrooms For St. Vartan Armenian School

By Florence Avakian
Newly refurbished classrooms for the St. Vartan Armenian School were blessed by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), during an official opening ceremony on Saturday, April 12. The school meets every Saturday morning at the Diocesan Center in New York City.

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PRESS OFFICE
Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern)
630 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Contact: Chris Zakian 
Tel: (212) 686-0710 or (973) 943-8697  
E-mail: chrisz@armeniandiocese.org
Website: www.armenianchurch-ed.net
June 10, 2014
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NEW CLASSROOMS FOR ST. VARTAN ARMENIAN SCHOOL
By Florence Avakian
Newly refurbished classrooms for the St. Vartan Armenian School were blessed by Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern), during an official opening ceremony on Saturday, April 12. The school meets every Saturday morning at the Diocesan Center in New York City.
Also present for the ceremony were the Very Rev. Mamigon Kiledjian, dean of St. Vartan Armenian Cathedral; the Rev. Fr. Bedros Kadehjian; school principal Diramayr Shakeh Kadehjian; members of the school board; teachers, parents, and students dressed in their sparkling school uniforms.

Removing a purple drape from the dedication plaque, the Primate blessed the generous benefactors Alvina and Dr. Kevork Niksarli, as those present sang the hymns “Oorakh Ler” and “Hayr Mer.” All then surveyed the classrooms equipped with new desks, chairs, bookcases, computers, blackboards, and closets.
On the walls hung paintings by youngsters of the Fund for Armenian Relief Yerevan Children’s Center—made especially for this school.
Following the opening of the classrooms, a special program and reception were held in an adjacent hall. Treasurer of the school Arto Vorperian related: “Today we are here to celebrate our renovated school through the motivation and hard work of Archbishop Barsamian and Fr. Kiledjian, and the generosity of Alvina and Kevork Niksarli, as well as all our parents who have stood like strong columns to help us.”

Glorious History
The St. Vartan Armenian School is now 81 years old, having started its noble goal of educating young Armenians students in 1933.
The selfless and devoted teachers and principals who have worked without any, or negligible, remuneration during those early years, included Ashkhen Avakian (more than 30 years) , and Nubar and Anahid Kupelian (more than 10 years); other administrators and teachers included Zarmine Boghosian, George Haroutunian, Seta Kantarjian, Alice Khachmanian, and Theresa Venedikian, among others.
Diramayr Shakeh Kadehjian—the dedicated school principal since 1982—expressed appreciation to those who in 81 years “were responsible for keeping our ancient language, history, and culture alive, including the teachers and parents. We are grateful to the Niksarlis that we can continue this glorious tradition.” She also thanked Fr. Kiledjian, Arto Vorperian, and “especially Archbishop Khajag” for their dedication.
A beautiful bouquet of flowers was presented to Mrs. Niksarli by 7th-grader Ariana Pamoukian.
Two bright-eyed students Sarine Zeitlian and Ani Aslanian recited poems of welcome to the Primate and to the benefactors. A special song written for the St. Vartan School, with words composed by longtime and devoted head of the Armenian Language Lab and Resource Center, Sylva der Stepanian, was robustly sung by the pre-school students conducted by Anahid Boghosian, and accompanied on the piano by Jeannette Chirikdjian.
Thanking Archbishop Barsamian for blessing the classrooms, Dr. Kevork Niksarli called the event “a very happy occasion” and recounted that the renovation project had started a year earlier when Fr. Kiledjian, Arto Vorperian, and Michael Halajian had asked him for his assistance.
“Our children have been happily coming and learning in this school for four years,” he said. “All the students needed clean and efficient classrooms, and Alvina and I were very happy to bring it to reality.”
Fr. Kiledjian, in thanking the benefactors and teachers, praised the dedication of the teachers “who come every week and give their lives and hearts for our children. They treat them like their own family. Today is also your day,” he said, addressing the teaching staff comprised of Fr. Bedros Kadehjian, Sirvart Arakelian, Lucia Vorperian, Ani Essayan, Heghine Mirzoyan, Anahid Boghosian, Arax Shamamian, Jeannette Chirikdjian, Sona Simonyan, and Krikor Torosian.
In his address, the Primate reminded those present: “As spring is a new beginning, this also marks a new beginning of our school.”
Offering words of tribute to Diramayr Kadehjian, Fr. Kiledjian, the Niksarlis, and the teachers, parents, and students, the Primate said that “we must approach with a new relationship to inspire our young generation about their Armenian religion, history, culture, and language. And we must continue to work for our future.”
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Photos attached.
Photo 1: Archbishop Barsamian blesses one of the new classrooms.
Photo 2: Dr. Kevork and Mrs. Alvina Niksarli at the classroom dedication ceremony.

PublicRelations [publicrelations@armeniandiocese.org]

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