On Saturday, May 22, 2021, members of the St. Sarkis community (Douglaston, New York) gathered for both a joyous and bittersweet occasion. For many, it was the first time they had been back within the church walls since the outset of the Covid19 pandemic. The event brought together some of the most important aspects of our lives: the love of our faith, our culture, and of course, our children. Considering the time of year, those things together can only mean one thing –graduation.
This past Saturday, 20 students of the St. Sarkis Church Suzanne and Hovsep Hagopian Armenian School came to the end of their journey as students. Some of these students had been attending every week going back as early as the “mommy-and-me” program. Others joined the school in time for pre-k, kindergarten, or later years. These students attended week after week, spending hours learning about their culture, history, religion, and of course, mayreni lezou (mother tongue). The school not only educated them, but also helped them form bonds with the church, and their classmates. These bonds will act as the basis for connections that will hopefully last a lifetime. During the afternoon’s program, the students read a poem for their family members and friends in attendance, and each gave a short speech. The student portion concluded with a video montage created by one of their teachers, Ms. Nora Zohrabian. The beautiful video included photos of each of the graduates, showing how they grew up with us over years, along with video messages from many of their teachers, past, and present.
While the students said goodbye to their beloved school, the school also had to say a difficult goodbye. After nearly 20 years of service, Mrs. Nairy Zohrabian made the decision to retire as principal. Under Digin Nairy’s guidance, with the support of our pastor and Board of Trustees, the school flourished. Student registration increased to numbers not seen in a generation. As was pointed out by our Prelate, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, in the nearly 45 years of its existence, the school has only had three principals, and Digin Nairy held one of the longer tenures. The school was blessed to have her as a leader, and she will be missed as it moves on to its next chapter. On the occasion of her retirement from her role, On the occasion of her retirement from her role, Anoushavan Srpazan presented Digin Nairy with the certificate “Mesrob Mashdots” from the Prelacy. She was also presented with a gift from the church to show its appreciation for her many years of devoted service. The afternoon concluded with refreshments provided by the school’s PTA.