By Florence Avakian
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. — In the bucolic setting of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, two outstanding students from Jerusalem’s Sts. Tarkmanchatz School joined two dozen American-Armenian students for the annual high school summer conferences. Nayiry Shahanian and Simon Khatchadourian, both 18 years old and born in Jerusalem’s Armenian convent, sat in the picturesque garden for a conversation with this writer.
“We were thrilled to make the journey to New York and take part in this rich and interesting program of Bible study, worship services, lectures, face-to-face communication and fun activities with the American-Armenian students,” they gushed.
This annual program started 10 years ago to bring students from Sts. Tarkmanchatz School by the Rev. Mardiros Chevian, the dean of St. Nersess Seminary. It enables young Armenian students to come to America to interact, learn about each others experiences, and strengthen their Armenian Christian faith.
This year’s main benefactors included Russell and Susan Kaishian (WI), and Neil and Renee Ferraro (MA). Also supporting the program were Gabriel and Sophia Ovanessian (NY), Gregory and Meline Toufayan (NJ), Vicken and Rosette Arslanian (NJ), Stephen and Kristina Findikyan (NY), Keith and Karyn Bilezerian (MA), and Glen and Kristin Dabaghian (NJ).
The two Sts. Tarkmanchatz students who both grew up in the convent of the Armenian Patriarchate in a “loving Armenian environment”, spoke glowingly about their educational life in which they have excelled. They had high praise for the school principal, the Very Rev. Norayr Kazazian.