By Gegham Mkrtchyan
YEREVAN (Azg) – On September 30, Kevork Marashlian, a member of the Central Board of the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) of the United States and Canada, Gayane Muradyan, the official representative of this body in Armenia, and various guests from Argentina and Washington, DC visited the Vahan Tekeyan School of Gyumri. They personally delivered the annual financial assistance provided by the TCA Sponsor a Teacher Program to the 73 teachers and 15 other staff members of the school.
It has now been 16 years that the American and Canadian Armenian members of Tekeyan have uninterruptedly raised funds and then distributed them to the teachers and staff of schools like this one bearing the Vahan Tekeyan name in Armenia, including those in Yerevan, Stepanavan, Aragatsotn District’s Karbi village, and, for the last eight years, in Berdzor. The cause of this initiative, as Gayane Muradyan recalled, was the visit of a large group of Tekeyan members in 2000 to Armenia. Seeing the public schools and learning of the salary of the teachers, which at that time was extremely low, our compatriot members of Tekeyan decided to help. In this way, they would encourage our pedagogues by praising and giving importance to their important work of educating the future citizens of Armenia.
“In the year 2000,” said Marashlian, “the Central Board learned that many teachers had decided to leave Armenia and go to other countries. We thought that if we helped them, they would be able to stay and continue to educate our young children. This was the chief goal with which the program began. It is administered and coordinated by Maro Bedrosian, the treasurer of the TCA Central Board, who lives in Texas.”
These encounters with the teachers of Armenian schools each time turn into a unique type of summary of their work during that year. The meeting in Gyumri took place just prior to Teachers’ Day. The guests first congratulated the school’s pedagogues, and evinced an interest in their daily work, as well as the issues today facing the school and the Armenian educational system.
On October 4, other guests from Argentina, Lebanon, and Greece, together with TCA Central Board members Edmond Y. Azadian, Hagop Vartivarian and Arto Manookian, visited Yerevan’s Tekeyan School. The students performed a circle dance at the school’s entrance to greet their guests. Led by the principal, Tsovinar Mardanyan, the guests visited the kindergarten and several classrooms of the elementary school. They were received with songs and recitations. The students also had a special exhibition of their handiwork on religious, musical and cultural themes. The Central Board members then gave the yearly allocations of the Sponsor a Teacher program to the more than 70 teachers and staff members.