A Berdzor teacher receiving a donation from Kevork Keushkerian

TCA Supports Berdzor’s Vahan Tekeyan School

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By Kevork Keushkerian

LOS ANGELES and BERDZOR — Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Central Board of Directors of United States and Canada have sponsored four schools across the Republic of Armenia since the year 2000. They are in Yerevan, Garbi, Gyumri and Stepanavan. In 2011, a fifth school located in the city of Berdzor Republic of Artsakh, was added to the list.

Every year, a member of the Central Board of Directors visits those schools and oversees the distribution of funds to all teachers and staff members. In 2007, I was designated to visit and oversee the distribution of funds to the Vahan Tekeyan schools in Gyumri and Stepanavan. My wife, Silva, accompanied me and witnessed the incredible ceremony in which donations were given to those intended. That was an example of true accountability at work. Also, donors received a thank you note, along with the name of the teacher they had sponsored.

From left, Silva Keushkerian, Principal Kosakyan and the author, Kevork Keushkerian

This year, once again, I was fortunate to visit the Vahan Tekeyan School in Berdzor and oversee the distribution of funds. My wife, Silva, accompanied me again and we participated in another wonderful ceremony. Afterwards, we were given a tour of the school grounds by the very hospitable staff. We were then invited to participate in a luncheon in Principal Anahit Kosakyan’s office.

Vahan Tekeyan Middle School in Berdzor, Artsakh has 240 students, 32 teachers and 17 staff members. The school is housed in a three-story building, which is not in good structural condition. Mrs. Kosakyan proudly mentioned that a few of her former students have come back, after receiving their university degrees, to teach at their Alma Mater.

Luckily, different sponsors from Montreal, Canada and Paris, France have undertaken the task of renovating a few of the classrooms and naming them after people who are dear to their hearts and/or modern-day heroes of Armenian descent. This is a very noble cause for the safety and wellbeing of our children.

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One of the classrooms was renovated by the proceeds of the Saro Armen Manoukian fund of Montreal’s Tekeyan Cultural Association. It was named “Armenian Language and Literature Classroom.” Saro Armen is the late son of Arto Manoukian, who serves on the Central Board of Directors of Tekeyan Cultural Association.

Another classroom was renovated by Avedis and Arshalouys Jihanian of Montreal’s Tekeyan Cultural Association. It was named “Hrant Dink History Classroom.”

The funds to renovate the next two classrooms came from the Arshag Chobanian Institute of Paris, France. The first one was named “Sarkis Hatsbanian Patriotic Classroom.” And the other one was named “Military Science Classroom.” The latter was just renovated last year.

It’s heartwarming to see such an interest in renovating the classrooms in Berdzor’s Vahan Tekeyan School. As a veteran educator, I can’t stress enough the need for children to be in a safe and healthy environment. These young students will be our leaders one day and we need to invest in them and provide them with an environment conducive to learning.

Luckily, says Gayane Mouradian of Armenia’s Tekeyan Cultural Association, there are more people lined up to renovate more classrooms. The next item on the to do list must be providing the school with running water, so that students don’t have to go outside for a drink of water.

I would like to thank Maro Bedrosian, the treasurer of Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Board of Directors, who spearheaded this program and called it “Sponsor a Teacher in Armenia.” Since then, “Sponsor a Teacher in Artsakh” has also evolved, and thank God to the many donors who have contributed to this essential task of subsidizing our teachers in the Homeland.

It’s a well-known fact that teachers worldwide are overworked and underpaid. This is more prevalent in Armenia and it is important that we help them in any way that we can, so they do not leave this noble profession for better paying jobs.

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