Each June, a new crop of public high school graduates, their family members and counselors, join the Armenian Relief Society of Western USA (ARS) family for an awards night in their honor. The ARS regional executive awards certificates and the ARS chapter executives award the monetary rewards for continued education. This year, the event to acquaint the young graduates with their community organization took place on June 3 at the ARS regional Headquarters.
Following the ARS anthem, ARS Regional Executive Board Chairperson Lena Bozoyan welcomed guests, thanking the parents for their efforts and encouraging the graduates to work hard to reach their goals and not succumb to any difficulties that they encounter. She said that the ARS expects them, as educated youth, to become the “guardian angels” of the ARS and the Armenian culture. Bozoyan added that once the students complete their education, the ARS would accept their membership with open arms.
The keynote speaker was Dr. Tamar Kataroyan, an assistant principal at Glendale High School who had just received her Ph.D. from the USC School of Education. Kataroyan moved to the Los Angeles basin as a youth from Fresno and became an athlete and a trainer for the Homenetmen, participating in women’s basketball team games around the globe.
Dr. Kataroyan praised the ARS mission and vision, offering stories to punctuate the points she felt were important for the students to remember: find a passion; find balance in life; always remember who you are and where you came from; be kind, respectful and honest; and love life.
She also reminded the students of the Homenetmen motto, “Elevate yourself and others with you” (“Partsratsir Partsratsoor”), which has guided her steps, and the will of the Armenian people to persevere.
Receiving awards were students from the followoing high schools: Diana Muradyan and Nora Melkonyan from Burbank; Rita Semerjian from John Burroughs; Arda Bedoyan from Granada Hills; Lori Mandjikian from Crescenta Valley; Anahit Kashishian from Clark Magnet; Teren Yedikian from Palos Verdes Peninsula; Anny Aslanian from Montebello; Christine Kupelian from Schurr; Andrew Samuel Alwin and Mihran Hovhannesyan from Hoover; Rita Hasserjian, Natalin Daldalian and Mane Avagyan from Glendale; Krikor Atamian from Reseda; Regina Agopian from Taft; Kathryn Dermenjyan and Mariam Zadikyan from Van Nuys; Christian Vasken Bedoyan from Pasadena; Rose Rumyan from John Marshall; David Khudaverdyan from Hollywood High School. Also presented with awards were Lusine Maslakyan from Apex Academy and Jivan Hovsepyan from Marshall Fundamental Secondary School.
Following the award ceremony, ARS regional and chapter executives met with the awardees during the reception.