Visual Arts Scholarship First Prize artwork by Xin Lu

California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Announces Scholarship Winners


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation announced the winners of the 2024 California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship. California high school students (Grades 9-12) were invited to participate in an essay and visual arts contest.

For the Annual Essay Contest, students were asked to write a memo with the prompt: In 2022 and 2023, the Azerbaijan government launched a blockade of the Republic of Artstakh which displaced over 100,000 indigenous Armenians. How would you address the resulting humanitarian and refugee crisis? First Prize ($1,000) went to Diego Gamboa Martinez attending Independence High School in Bakersfield, California. Second Prize ($750) went to Lilit Tadevosyan attending La Cañada High School in La Cañada. Third Prize ($500) went to Sylvia Balyan, attending Ulysses S. Grant High School in Van Nuys.

Visual Arts Scholarship Second Prize artwork by Aleen Kojikian

For the Visual Arts Scholarship, this year students were asked to submit artwork to be showcased on the cover of a news magazine which illustrates the individual and global community impacts of the evolving humanitarian and refugee crisis caused by the Azerbaijani blockade of the Republic of Artsakh. First Prize ($1,000) was won by Xin Lu, attending Claremont High School in Claremont; Second Prize ($750) by Aleen Kojikian, attending California School of the Arts, San Gabriel Valley in Duarte; and Third Prize ($500) by Ile Joy Cheng, attending Claremont High School in Claremont.

Visual Arts Scholarship Third Prize artwork by Ile Joy Cheng

Armenian Legislative Caucus members made the following comments.

“Congratulations to Sylvia Balyan of North Hollywood! Your powerful essay on addressing the humanitarian crisis in the Republic of Artsakh is a testament to the excellent programs and teachers at Ulysses S. Grant High School, your exemplary academic performance, and the strength of our Armenian community in Senate District 20. Each scholarship winner is showing California youth the importance of civic engagement, promoting attention to issues around the world, and ensuring your generation continues remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. I wish you all the best on your path to higher education and beyond!”, Senator Caroline Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley).

“I am proud to join my colleagues in recognizing and congratulating the outstanding and talented California students. Our scholarship recipients have helped increase awareness about the Armenian Genocide through education and creative expression. As we mark the 109th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, this is a great opportunity that highlights the resiliency of the Armenian people,” Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank).

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“As a member of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation and your State Senator I would like to congratulate Aleen Kojikian and Ile Joy Cheng both high school students who reside in my district for winning the Visual Arts Scholarships Awards in remembrance of the Armenian Genocide on its 109th anniversary. It is important to remember past examples of genocide because there will be no sense of urgency in the present or perceived need to prevent future atrocities. Having knowledge of the causes and sequences of genocide will help prevent other peoples from being subjected to this crime against humanity. The Armenian example makes possible a transformation of consciousness, one that rejects every manifestation of genocide, including denial, as an instrument of state policy,” Senator Susan Rubio (D-Baldwin Park).

“The Armenian Genocide was a tragedy that demands perpetual remembrance, and through education we can work to ensure that genocide never happens again. As the proud husband of an Armenian-American, and Co-Founder of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation, I’m grateful for the opportunities these scholarships provide our students. In addition to helping them with school costs, they also play a crucial role in enlightening Californians about the struggles confronting the nation of Armenia and its people today. This year’s winners did a fantastic job, and it is my pleasure to recognize their accomplishments. Congratulations!,” Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita).

“I am pleased to recognize the recipients of the 2024 California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship. This year’s submissions reflect on the value of humanitarian work during times of ongoing, global crises. 109 years ago, the people of Armenian suffered from a cruelty that we can never forget, and one that continues to threaten the prosperity of the Armenian community to this day. These six students carry on the cultural and historical legacy of Armenia. They are our state’s future leaders and I congratulate them on their achievements in writing and visual arts,” Assemblymember Lisa Calderon (D-Whittier).

“Congratulations to the remarkable awardees of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation’s scholarship contests! Your dedication to commemorating the Armenian Genocide on its 109th anniversary through essays and visual arts not only honors the memory of those affected but also spreads crucial awareness. I extend my deepest admiration and heartfelt congratulations to each winner. May your achievements inspire others to pursue awareness, justice, and remembrance,” Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles).

“Some tragedies in human history are so great, so far reaching, that their impacts are felt through the centuries. The inclusion of those important stories on the pages of our history books, in our collective conscience, is essential if we are to prevent future atrocities. Thank you to the students striving through art and the written word to ensure that the Armenian Genocide is one of those tragedies whose victims and stories are not lost. Your work ensures that your generation will tell the truth of those we lost and those still scarred by the past,” Assemblymember Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).

“I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to the recipients of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarships. These scholarships not only celebrate your individual accomplishments but also highlight the contributions of the Armenian community to our state. I commend you for your outstanding submissions, and I look forward to witnessing your future accomplishments and contributions to your community,” Assemblymember Gipson (D-Carson).

“Congratulations to the outstanding winners of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship! Your dedication to raising awareness of the Armenian Genocide on its 109th anniversary through essay and visual arts showcases the power of education and activism. Your contributions inspire us all,” Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes (D-San Bernadino).

“I would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients. As we remember the victims of the Armenian Genocide, let us continue to inspire and support the next generation of young Armenian leaders, uplift the rich Armenian culture here in our community, and invest in our youth. Throughout my twelve years serving this district and the proud Armenian community here, it has been a privilege to be embraced as a leader and have the opportunity to learn about and support the efforts of the California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation. I wish the best of luck to these young people as they tackle their goals going forward,” Assemblymember Chris Holden (D-Pasadena).

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Sylvia Balyan from Ulysses S. Grant High School in North Hollywood for being awarded a California Armenian Legislative Caucus Essay Scholarship. This remarkable achievement demonstrates Sylvia’s dedication to academic excellence and her thoughtful contributions to the remembrance of the Armenian Genocide. AD 43 is proud to celebrate Sylvia’s well-deserved recognition,” Assemblymember Luz Rivas (D-San Fernando).

“We will continue to honor the tragedy that is the Armenian Genocide. It is our due diligence to hold and spread awareness of such atrocities and through honest education and activism, we will continue to enlighten so as to never see past transgressions repeated. The California Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation Scholarship ensures a financial benefit upon recognizing the creative efforts of its applicants, while simultaneously enlightening the public through its outreach. I am proud to recognize this year’s winners for their well-earned scholarships, may we continue to advocate for education, reflection and self-reflection of the Armenian Genocide through this scholarship,” Assemblymember Blanca Rubio (D- San Gabriel Valley).

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the winners of the Armenian Legislative Caucus Foundation’s essay contest and visual arts contest. Each of these six winners embody the spirit of the next generation of leaders in the Armenian-American community. I applaud them for their outstanding work to commemorate the Armenian Genocide and contemporary issues in the region,” Assemblymember Tri Ta (R-Westminster).

“I want to recognize and commend the six awardees, as well as every young person whose art serves an expression of the grief and pain still felt by the Armenian community 109 years after the Armenian Genocide. This next generation is stepping up to make sure the world never forgets,” Assemblymember Rick Chavez Zbur (D-Hollywood).

“Proud to see young generations of California students learning about man’s inhumanity to man so we can become better as humans, learn from our mistakes and restore justice,” Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian (Ret.).

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