Aboard the Eternity Cruise Ship in Newport Harbor, 300 guests celebrated another year full of accomplishments and growth for Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School at the 33rd annual banquet, Gala on the Sea on April 6.
As the only Armenian school in Orange County, AGM has been serving the community since 1986, when the Minassian family, alongside other founding visionaries, made the dream of a daily school into a reality.
Steve and Seta Minassian aboard the Eternity Cruise Ship
The Forty Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church Pastor and Board of Trustees from the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years were also present at the gala. The church has extended unparalleled support, funding the new renovation of the school office, and kindergarten classroom. Rev. Father Karekin Bedourian, whose two young daughters are students at AGM –alongside the Forty Martyrs Board of Trustees, have continuously advocated for and invested in the school’s mission.
Guests gathered on the first floor of the cruise ship for a brief program, for which AGM PTO Chair, Natalie Peters served as Mistress of Ceremonies.
Following the invocation delivered by Father Bedourian, Principal, Sanan Shirinian delivered the school’s message.
“The experiences a child has at an Armenian School cannot be had anywhere else. We have seen a lot of growth this year, with a newly added classroom and record student enrollment, however we still have a long way to go,” she said.
“Our work is not done until all Armenian children in the community are benefiting from an Armenian school experience,” Shirinian added.
Christopher Guldjian, longtime member of the School Board, delivered a heartfelt message highlighting the power of community, and the importance of working together for the next generation. He then introduced the evening’s keynote speaker, Julian Movsesian, the CEO and Founder of Succession Capital. A brief biography of Julian’s humble beginnings and rise to success were followed by a surprise announcement that he and his wife, Aleen, will be making an unprecedented $200,000 donation to the school.
Rev. Father Karekin Bedourian, pastor of the Forty Martyrs Armenian Church of Orange County
In honor of this extraordinary contribution to the school, Julian and Aleen Movsesian were presented with a special award designed by Michael Aram, who himself had visited AGM students this past November.
In his remarks, Julian Movsesian challenged the audience to rise to the occasion and encourage the school both financially and morally. The collective effort of school parents, community members and organizations helped raise an additional $200,000.
A scene from AGM’s 33rd annual Gala
The Movsesian family’s princely contributions will be celebrated by naming the AGM preschool division as the new Julian and Aleen Movsesian Armenian Preschool. The AGM Elementary and new Movsesian Preschool will work in tandem under the same school administration.
Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School and Julian and Aleen Movsesian Armenian Preschool will be allocating the donated funds for various school improvement projects, from technology to athletics, as well as investing in student and teacher retention initiatives.
Additionally, $200,000 will be allocated to kick-start a new endowment fund that the School Board and Principal plan to launch, in light of the outpour of community support. “We are setting a two-year goal for the fund to acquire 1 million dollars by 2021, in honor of the school’s 35th anniversary,” explained Principal Shirinian.