St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) successfully completed its 38th academic year, with graduation ceremonies held on Thursday, June 16, for kindergarten, and the following day for elementary students, who read their farewells. Both kindergarten and fifth grade students offered a function that included poems, songs, and Armenian dance. Prizes were also presented, including the Prelacy Award for Excellence in Armenian, a silver coin of King Levon I of Cilicia, to Siran Arakelian, Aiki Arzoumanian, Aline Mikaelian, Eva Khalarian, and Leanna Iskenderian. 

In remarks delivered at the graduation ceremonies, Principal Houry Boyamian said that the school was able to conduct many extra-curricular activities, in addition to fully completing the curriculum. She noted that the pandemic did not prevent the school from commemorating traditional holidays such as Armenian Culture Day, Vartanants, May 28, the Armenian Genocide, two Talent Shows. The highlight was a two-week trip to Armenia for fifth graders. She ended her speech by thanking the teaching and administrative staff, the School Board, the Education, Health and Technology Committees, as well as Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian and the St. Stephen’s Church Board of Trustees. She thanked the parents for their encouragement and unwavering support in another challenging year with the pandemic.   

On June 16, Fr. Antranig and Principal Boyamian honored Nora Hackett, who is retiring after 21 years of dedicated service as assistant treasurer of the school, with a Certificate of Appreciation awarded by His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan, Prelate. Her father, Yervant Krafian, was one of the founding members of the school, to which she has served since it opened its doors.   

Kindergarten held its end of school year celebration in front of the Afeyan Building. Parents, grandparents, and friends were gathered to enjoy the students’ delightful performance. The children recited Armenian poems and interpreted songs with great enthusiasm and pride. Music teacher Yelena Hakobyan and director Maral Orchanian worked tirelessly throughout the year to provide a safe, warm, welcoming and nurturing environment for the students to learn, grow, advance and flourish.  

Preschool graduates are Arek Babb-Mikaelian; Dalita Bell, Dante Carbunari, Khoren Dennigan, Brayden Duhanyan, Aren Ekmekji, Eva Giragosian, Arev Hacobian, Sevag Karagozian, Ani Kechicchian, Lara Kirejian, Alexander Krikorian, Levon Luarasi, Andrew Manguikian, Nicholas Ntasios, Emma Orchanian, Diana Ohannesian, Sylvie Said, Anya Savo, Sanahin Arzoumanian Schwartz, and Lucine Zurabyan. 

On June 17, the following students graduated from the Elementary School bringing the number of St. Stephen’s graduates up to 358. They are Siran Arakelian, Aiki Arzoumanian, Olivia Dimopoulos, Lori Garbedian, Leanna Iskenderian, Josephine Keumurian, Eva Khalarian, Arda Mahserejian, Aline Mikaelian, and Giselle Tarabelsi. 

In his remarks, Fr. Antranig expressed his appreciation to the administration and faculty for their dedication and effort in providing an excellent education to all students. Then Fr. Baljian and Principal Boyamian presented the diplomas and the awards to the graduates.