By Gayane Muradyan
YEREVAN – They say that if you have decided to help, and you do help, you bear responsibility for that decision. The Tekeyan Cultural Association of the United States and Canada (TCA) for some 18 years undertook and continues now to undertake the realization of its philanthropic program in support of the five schools in Armenia and Artsakh bearing the name of Vahan Tekeyan.
Every year our compatriots from the diaspora come to visit these schools in order to deliver to their teachers and other staff the aid collected by the TCA Sponsor a Teacher Program. This year the Tekeyan supporters’ visit coincided with the May triple festivity commemorating the victories of the Great Patriotic War (World War II), the liberation of Shushi and the creation of the Artsakh Defense Army, and the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia. They shared in the pan-Armenian joy.
TCA Central Board member Kevork Keushgerian and his wife Sylva visited for the first time the Vahan Tekeyan Berdzor School No. 1 of Artsakh. Their amazement at the natural beauty of Artsakh was only matched by their sadness at the difficult circumstances of the school. However, upon seeing the happy faces of Principal Anahit Kosakyan and the students, they momentarily forgot the damp walls running from the first to the third floors and the at least fifty-years-old ruined parquet flooring. The students showed them the four classrooms renovated over the last one-and-one-half years and told them about the daily life of the school and its new educational plans. The teachers and staff with words of thanks received the gifts from the visitors and openly related the needs of the school.
Yerevan’s Vahan Tekeyan School No. 92 was visited by TCA Central Board president Edmond Y. Azadian from Detroit, and board members Hagop Vartivarian of New Jersey and Kevork Marashlian and his wife Vartiter of Washington D.C. Principal Tsovinar Mardanyan proudly related the students’ accomplishments and their successes at various Olympics. However, it still was necessary to renovate the elementary school and completely transform the unsanitary state of the cafeteria.
The visits to the Tekeyan schools of Karbi, with Vartivarian and Vartiter Marashlian, and those of Gyumri and Stepanavan, coincided with their graduation ceremonies. The words of praise and appreciation bestowed upon the teachers by their students was compounded by that of the visitors. Vartivarian declared, “We are grateful to you for your influence and your everlasting dedication. It is you who patiently educate and mold the young generation, preparing them for their entry into a new life.”