TCA Dickranian School 2011 Commencement


LOS ANGELES — Marking the school’s 30th anniversary, the commencement ceremonies of the fifth grade (elementary), eighth grade (middle) and 12th grade (high school) graduates of the Tekeyan Cultural Association Arshag Dickranian School took place on Saturday, June 25, at the school’s Walter and Laurel Karabian Hall.

Very Rev. Dajad Yardemian, Archpriest Manoug Markarian, benefactresses Eleanor Dickranian and Laurel Karabian, members of the Tekeyan Cultural Association Board of Directors were amongst the honored guests, joined by members of the school board of trustees, faculty and a capacity audience comprised of jubilant parents, relatives and friends.

The processional entry of the three graduating classes was followed by the school choir’s rendition of the national anthems of the United States, the Republic of Armenia and the hymn of the Dickranian School.

Acting as the master of ceremonies, Vice Chairman of Board of Trustees Parsegh Kartalian delivered the opening remarks of the event, introducing and welcoming guests and graduating students alike. “We are gathered here today to graduate 16 students into the next chapter of their lives,” said he. “They will leave this school and pursue higher education in prestigious universities and make us all proud.”

Following Kartalian’s remarks, Principal Vartkes Kourouyan presented awards of excellence to fifth- and eighth-grade students. He then invited Board of Trustees Secretary Gia Aivazian to present the fifth graders with their diplomas as Ashley Kirakossian, their homeroom teacher, called their names. Respectively, the eighth graders were then called one by one by their homeroom teacher Alvard Uzunyan to receive their diplomas by their one time teacher Vatche Semerdjian.

Board of Trustees chairman, George K. Mandossian, and TCA Board of Directors chairman, Haroutiun Arzoumanian, were then called upon to jointly present the 16 graduates of the Class of 2011 with their diplomas as Soukiassian read their names, thus calling on: Lusine Aleksanian, David Aghabekyan, Rozi Demirtchian, Lusine Zeitountsian, Khachik Haladjian, Alex Garibyan, John Gukasyan, Mariam Meliksetyan, Anahit Mestchyan, Harout Mishikyan, Ani Nercessian, Hykouhi Shamlyan, Grace Chilyan, Shake Dzhulfayan, Vardan Vardanyan and Gevork Keshishyan.

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Valedictorian Mestchyan, recipient of Eleanor Dickranian’s coveted $1,000 “Arshag Dickranian Award” and Salutatorian Hykouhi Shamlyan, recipient of the $500 Armenian Educational Foundation “Arshag Dickranian Memorial Award,” presented their speeches in Armenian and English, reflecting upon their experiences and memories of their school days.

Aside from the awards received by the valedictorian and salutatorians, Board Treasurer Angine Garibyan presented monetary prizes in the total amount of $2,800 to winners in various intramural competitions such as recitation, composition, arts and sciences. The prizes were donated by respective sponsors.

The keynote speaker of the event was school alumna Mariam Danielyan, Esq., (Class of 2002). She was introduced by the emcee as a graduate of UC Berkeley and University of San Francisco School of Law. One of the highlights of her career was  ttending the 13th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva where she presented a three-minute intervention to the Council and delegates on the Right to Food.  Danielyan began her address by memorializing her days at ADS. “I began my life with tears as I enrolled in Kindergarten and left with tears when I graduated” she said, “Later on, during my four years at UC Berkeley, I found out that Arshag Dickranian School had given me a solid foundation to face my challenges.”

The congratulatory message of the School Board of Trustees was delivered by Mandossian. “Tomorrow, as you start attending the college of your choice, you will not find your current teachers there,” said he addressing to the Class of 2011. “Hence, it will be your sole duty to safeguard your mother tongue and heritage.”

Apart from addressing the graduates, Mandossian expressed the board’s appreciation to the faculty and working committees for their dedication and hard work and to the benefactors for their continued support. Mandossian then acknowledged Kourouyan for his 30-year service at the school and presented him with a plaque of recognition.

Kourouyan then gave his message bidding farewell to the graduates of the Class of 2011, most of who were enrolled as kindergarten students.

The program ended with Yardemian’s remarks and benediction, after which the graduates,  parents and friends all gathered at the school grounds for carousing and picture taking.

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