Second prize, by Aleen Kojikian

California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Announces Essay and Visual Arts Scholarship Winners


Sacramento — The California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation is pleased to announce the winners of this year’s 2023 California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship, 6 California high school students who entered essay and arts contests. A number of Caucus members expressed their appreciation and offered congratulations to the winners.

First prize, by Arootin Asatourkazarian

Senator María Elena Durazo (D- Little Armenia Hollywood) declared, “On behalf of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation, we congratulate you on your outstanding achievement in the scholarship contests commemorating the Armenian Genocide. We commend you for undertaking the task of raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide, especially given the significance of its 108th anniversary. Your contributions in promoting consciousness and marking history regarding the Armenian Genocide are essential to ensure that it is not forgotten, and that its lessons are learned and applied to make the world a better place.”

Senator Anthony Portantino (D- Burbank) stated, “Congratulations to the outstanding and talented California students. It’s wonderful to see that the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Annual Essay Contest fosters academic opportunities and increases awareness of the Armenian Genocide through education.”

Senator Scott Wilk (R- Santa Clarita) wrote, “Expression through creativity is one of the best ways we can generate honest discussion about the darkest moments in human history. This scholarship opportunity has been vital in doing just that – to raise awareness about the atrocities of the Armenian genocide, while preserving and highlighting the rich culture and resilience of the Armenian people today. It is my pleasure to recognize this year’s scholarship winners. Congratulations!”

Third prize, by Sophia He

Assemblymember Lisa Calderon (D- Whittier) stated, “Congratulations to the recipients of the 2023 California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship! It is with great pleasure that I join my colleagues in recognizing the dedication of these six students to advancing their education. This year marks the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, which reminds us of the resiliency of the people of Armenia. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the Armenian Caucus to highlight the work of the next generation of leaders!”

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Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D- Los Angeles) wrote, “I applaud all the incredibly bright and deserving high school scholars who were awarded a scholarship through the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation.  The Armenian-American diaspora across California is part of the very fabric of America, and for many first generation college students this scholarship is monumental. Understanding the impact of the Armenian genocide is why the legislature passed AB 101, which would make Ethnic Studies a high school graduation requirement. The history of the Armenian people is an American history that should be taught to all students. I am so proud of all our scholars whose achievements reflect how higher education can improve the lives of our families and communities for generations to come.”

Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D- Glendale) exclaimed, “Congratulations to the talented winners the 2023 California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarships! These six high school students represent the next generation of leaders and their incredible work serves as a critical reminder of the importance of genocide education.”

Assemblymember Chris Holden (D- Pasadena) wrote, “The fight for justice starts early! Thank you to the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation for involving our young people in this important commemoration. When we remember the Armenian Genocide, today, we commit ourselves to fighting injustice and inequality by governments everywhere. Congratulations to the deserving students selected for this scholarship. These experiences will guide them into becoming our leaders of tomorrow.”

Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D- San Fernando Valley) stated, “Congratulations to the winners of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation’s scholarship contest. These funds will go on to support students who are furthering their education, but it’s also an opportunity to educate the next generation about the atrocious genocide committed against the Armenian community. I want to thank these students for evoking the sensitivity that is the Armenian genocide and for using art and writing to express the violence that was inflicted in the Armenian community.”

Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio (D- Baldwin Park) said, “These students’ incredible talents are a testament to their success in and outside of the classroom. It is a privilege to witness our youth committing themselves to raising awareness about the Armenian Genocide. Congratulations to the winners on this well-deserved scholarship recognition.”

Assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D- Los Angeles) wrote, “It is our greatest honor to award these brilliant scholars! It is also inspiring to see the immense creativity in our next generation of leaders. The impact of the Armenian genocide is an important part of American history and it is vital to ensure we preserve Armenian culture. I applaud these students and their willingness in educating and raising awareness about the injustices that Armenian people faced to prevent history from being repeated. We must continue to accentuate the resilience of the Armenian people and the many contributions they have made to California. Congratulations!”

Finally, Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D- West Hollywood/Santa Monica) stated, “Congratulations to these incredibly talented California students on their scholarship win. Raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide through education provides the next generation with the knowledge to fight anti-Armenian hate and discrimination. As a representative of District 51, which includes Little Armenia, I believe that recognizing the kinds of atrocities committed against this incredible group of people is necessary to ensure acts like these are never again committed in this world.”

Winners of the Essay Scholarship

Earlier this year the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation invited California high school students to participate in its Annual Essay Contest. Students were asked to write a memo with the prompt: If you were a United Nations ambassador, how would you use your position to help with present-day challenges that Armenia and Armenians are facing to raise geopolitical awareness?

The first prize of $1,000 went to Julianna Babayan, attending Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies in Tarzana, CA. The second prize of $750 was won by Gianna Herrera, attending Covina High School in Covina, CA. Third prize, $500, went to Kayla Voskanian, attending Crescenta Valley High School in La Crescenta-Montrose, CA.

Winners of the Visual Arts Scholarship 

This year’s theme was to submit artwork to be showcased on the cover of a news magazine to showcase the present-day challenges that Armenia as a country and the Armenian people are facing in their homeland. The first prize of $1,000 went to Arootin Asatourkazarian, attending Burbank High School in Burbank, CA. The second prize, $750, went to Aleen Kojikian attending California School of the Arts, Duarte, CA, and third prize, $500, was won by Sophia He, attending Piedmont Hills High School in San Jose, CA.

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