TCA Sponsor a Teacher Program Completes 2010 Disbursement of Funds in Armenia and Karabagh

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By Gayane Muradyan

YEREVAN — The Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Sponsor a Teacher program has been carried out continuously for the past 10 years at the initiative of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada.

The Board of Directors of the TCA of the United States and Canada, headed by Maro Bedrosian, decided to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program in a fitting manner last year. On that occasion, I, as the coordinator of the ongoing program in Armenia, was invited to the United States and Canada.

The jubilee celebrations of the Sponsor a Teacher program, which began in New York and continued in Philadelphia, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, started with the showing of a documentary film. The film is an interesting account of the work done over the past 10 years, the visits made by TCA members to schools named after poet Vahan Tekeyan during their sojourn in Armenia, as well as personal participation and involvement in the program. The participants in the celebrations held in all the aforementioned cities believed, trusted and willingly participated in the Sponsor a Teacher program, and the glaring proof of that is the fact that it has been in existence for 10 years.

As we have previously mentioned, this time the Sponsor a Teacher program started from the Tekeyan School in Berdzor, Nagorno-Karabagh Republic, and continued from there to Stepanavan, Gumri, Garpi and Yerevan.

Every year, the teachers in the schools await the realization of the program with a feeling of gratitude. Upon receipt of financial assistance, they convey their profound thanks to the donors and organizers of the Sponsor a Teacher program, wishing them all the best, health and longevity.

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The purpose of the program is to sponsor Armenian teachers through financial assistance, but that doesn’t prevent making on-site studies and planning subsequent courses of action.

For example, Valodya Martirosyan, principal of the TCA Vahan Tekeyan School in Stepanavan, spoke with particular satisfaction and pride about his school’s inclusion in school renovation plans in the Lori region by the Lincy Foundation through the intercession of the Tekeyan Cultural Association. A 150- seat auditorium and a gymnasium have been built adjoining the school. Work began in the spring of this year; at the present time, construction of the roof is ongoing, to be followed by interior decoration.

The pupils will soon have a fully-furnished auditorium and a gymnasium with all sorts of sports equipment. September 1 is the date anticipated for the official opening of the school’s new annex.

Regretfully, the same cannot be said for the school named after Vahan Tekeyan in Gumri. As a result of a calculation error in the local engineer’s plans for the school’s construction 10 years ago, the gymnasium ended up on the third floor. Sports periods proceed “quietly;” when the usual physical education class is in session, the entire school shakes and trembles. This circumstance greatly interferes with the pupils in their classrooms on the lower two floors.

The school’s principal, Hovhannes Petrosyan, says, “The area around the school allows for the construction of a separate gymnasium adjacent to our building. It is literally impossible to continue as is. In the hot weather, it is possible to hold physical education classes in the school yard but that is out of the question during the cold winter months. Classes in our school are held in two shifts, because the enrollment is 1,000 and is increasing.”

The Vahan Tekeyan School in Karbi, Aragatsotn region, is unquestionably considered the best in Armenian rural communities. The school’s refurbished classrooms, as well as the presence of methodical and didactic equipment for computer and military training, ensure that this subject is taught in an appealing manner. Each class presents literary- artistic programs in the school’s 200-seat auditorium for evaluation by the student body and teaching staff. That is a unique review for both groups.

Teachers’ efforts are aimed at generating love for books among the pupils. The program called “Reading Day” is operational in the school. Particular attention is paid to the periods devoted to physical preparation. Physical education teacher Samvel Aleksanyan says, “The classes are mandatory for girls and boys alike, since Armenia needs healthy mothers, who must give birth to strong soldiers for the Armenian army.”

Years ago, Yerevan’s No. 92 School named after Vahan Tekeyan was considered one of the capital’s best schools, with its renovated and refurbished classrooms. For years now, having a joint heating system has remained a problem for this school, which has three annexes. Until now, the classrooms are heated with electric heaters; despite this situation, the inhabitants of the district in which the school is located prefer to send their children there. The school’s gymnasiums are in need of major renovation. Because of a collapsed wall, physical education classes held in the second-floor gymnasium have been temporarily suspended. The solid reputation of the professional background of the teaching staff continues to attract a significant number of pupils to the school at the start of each new school year.

Traditionally, a daytime program of literary recitations is held in the school. This time, it was held in the Malatya- Sebastia municipal auditorium. Among the various guests were the principals of all the schools named after Vahan Tekeyan. All the members of the teaching staff express their thanks to the sponsors, participants and organizers of the Sponsor a Teacher program in United States and Canada.

Tekeyan Cultural Association, Inc., a non-profit 501©3 organization headquartered in Watertown, Mass., launched its 11th year Sponsor a Teacher Program fundraising in January 2011.

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