On Saturday, May 29, the Siamanto Academy held its virtual end-of-year school function. Mary Gulumian, director of the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC), delivered the opening remarks, following which she invited Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate, to offer the opening prayer. Ms. Gulumian then offered a brief overview of the closing school year, thanking the 45 students, teachers, the Armenian Virtual College (AVC), Saturday schools’ principals, and parents.

In his message, Haroutioun Misserlian, chairman of ANEC, quoted martyr writer Siamanto –“My goal does not recognize weakness,” urging students not to give in to the current difficulties, becoming instead a powerful link between the present and the past of the rich Armenian educational mission. From Yerevan, Arpine Tavakalyan, the Hybrid Education Program Coordinator of AVC, sent her good wishes on behalf of the AVC standing in front of the statues of St. Mesrob and Goriun Vartabed outside the Madenataran. Zepyur Kheblikian and Ani Dekirmenchyan also addressed the virtual gathering in the name of the AVC. It was then the turn of language teachers, Talin Giragossian, Sossi Mishoyan, Sossi Soussanian, and Lena Nazarian; music teacher Raffi Rachdouni, and history and architecture instructor Rupen Janbazian, and Mayda Melkonian, principal of the St. Stephens’ Saturday School of Boston, and Talin Artinian, of the Taniel Varoujan Saturday School of Chicago. In turn, students expressed their gratitude for the education that had enriched their lives.

In his closing remarks, Archbishop Anoushavan compared the Siamanto Academy project, which involves teachers from Armenia to Europe and the U.S., to an Identity Symphony that we enjoy every year.

“Make it the motto of your life,” the Prelate said, addressing the students: “Face challenges with the challenge of the Armenian spirit.” They should never waste their energy weakening, complaining, fearing or being disappointed, but adopting positive solutions to deal with adversity. He had words of praise for Ms. Gulumian, who saw an opportunity in adversity and enlarged the student body of the Academy by involving youth not only from New York and New Jersey but also from other states under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Prelacy.

The Prelate then invited Siamanto graduate Vahé Chaglasian to deliver a message to the students. Mr. Chaglasian, along with his wife Talyn, also a Siamanto graduate, expressed his gratitude to the academy for strengthening their Armenian identity and in recognition of its mission made a $10,000 donation, which will be used towards growing the student body with both virtual and in-person instruction, help add new programs, speakers, special events, equipment, and trips. They had previously donated another $10,000 to set up the Siamanto-Chaglasian Fund.