WATERTOWN — Principal Houry Boyamian of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School, and Ruth Thomasian, Executive Director of Project SAVE Armenian Photograph Archives, have entered into a teaching collaboration to engage fourth-grade students in discovering their Armenian heritage through vintage photographs. On October 23, as part of their Armenian Cultural Day celebration, students were introduced to this discovery process with a unique classroom program presented by Thomasian, a former elementary school teacher herself.
Using enlargements of vintage photographs from the collections of Project SAVE Archives, Thomasian engaged students in observing details and using these clues to “read” the photographs and discover their deeper meaning. She asked students to observe the photo, and then asked them what they saw and why they reached their conclusions. In this way students learned to support their thoughts with the details they had observed.
Every year St. Stephen’s will incorporate Project SAVE Archives’ “Reading Photographs” into the fourth-grade enrichment program.
As a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization, Project SAVE’s mission is to preserve and promote Armenian heritage through photographs. Its “Reading Photographs” program at St. Stephen’s School is both a contribution to the community and a thank-you for local support of its archives and educational programs. Project SAVE appreciates that St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School distinguishes itself with its bilingual curriculum, academic strength, devoted staff and low student-to-teacher ratio.
St. Stephen’s is fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), the accrediting body for independent elementary schools. AISNE has commended the school “for creating an environment where all the students love to read and appear committed to academic excellence and for recruiting a remarkably talented and dedicated staff. The AISNE accreditation puts St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School academically on par with other prestigious private schools in the region.