By Florence Avakian
ARMONK, N.Y. — Now, in its 11th year, an innovative program brings young Armenian students from Jerusalem’s Sts. Tarkmanchatz School to a summer program at St. Nersess Seminary, providing them with unique opportunities. For the first time, the number of students chosen was increased from two to four.
Started by the Rev. Mardiros Chevian, Dean of St. Nersess Armenian Seminary, this innovative project has come to fruition through the contributions of generous donors. This year’s major benefactors were Russell and Susan Kashian (WI). Additional benefactors included Gregory and Meline Toufayan (NJ), Keith and Karyn Bilezerian (MA), Steven and Karen Nargizian (NJ), Glenn and Kristin Dabaghian (NJ) and Joseph and Kristine Casali (NJ).
The goal of this program has been for exceptional Sts. Tarkmanchatz students to come to America. In doing so, they have the invaluable opportunity to interact with their Armenian-American peers, to learn from each other, to strengthen their Christian faith, and to explore the special experiences of New York and its environs.
A day after they arrived in New York from Jerusalem, I met this year’s four students, who included 17-year olds Sarin Gejehoushian, Armine Mirzoyan, Shoghig Shahanian, and 18-year-old Nadia Abu Ata, all born in Jerusalem. With obvious enthusiasm, they said that they looked forward to meeting, interacting, and learning with their fellow Armenian peers, and visiting the iconic centers of New York City and the metropolitan area.
“Jerusalem is home. The convent has always protected us,” they said almost in unison, reminiscing about their life at the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, and at Sts. Tarkmanchatz Armenian School, a special institution renowned for its top-level education, offering small classes and personal attention.