ROCKLEIGH, N.J.—This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Hovnanian School. The milestone was celebrated with a black-tie Gala at the Rockleigh Country Club on Oct. 22. The special guest honoree was Mr. Aso Tavitian, former CEO of Syncsort and long-time supporter of the arts and education of young Armenian professionals.
Over 400 people attended the sold-out function that raised more than $300,000 for the school. Entertainment was provided by Elie Berberian & Ensemble, featuring Steve Vosbikian and Raffi Massoyan. The Gala Chair Mrs. Tania Bakalian, an alumnus of the class of 1994, a current parent, and teacher at the school welcomed the many alumni in attendance as well as all guests.
The evening’s program paid tribute to the original founding members of the school: Mr. and Mrs. Vahakn S. and Paris Hasmig Hovnanian, Mr. Krikor Asadourian, Mr. Garabed Kinosian, Mrs. Anni Nalbandian, Mr. Arthur Nalbandian, Mr. Martin Nalbandian, Mr. Khatchig Nedurian, Mr. Bedros Tashjian, and Mr. Krikor Zadourian. All ten of the founding members were honored for being trailblazers in successfully establishing the only Armenian day school in New Jersey.
In addition, Dr. Gregory T. Simonian, vascular surgeon from Hackensack University Medical Center and the school’s outgoing Board of Trustees Chairman, was honored for his dedication, leadership, and tireless commitment to elevating the Hovnanian School to the outstanding educational institution it is today. Under his tenure as chairman, Simonian oversaw the hiring of current Principal Mrs. Shakeh Tashjian from Dwight-Englewood School. He also expanded the marketing, grant-writing, and fundraising departments, and directed the opening of the school’s Child Care Center in May 2015.
“At the school we teach math, English, science, and history and our fantastic faculty do a great job with that, but, we also teach far beyond these subjects, and that our children come to have a deeper understanding of society and the role they play within it,” Simonian said in his final speech as Chairman. He then announced the newly elected Chairman, Mr. Nazar Altun, Esquire.
Many representatives from various Armenian organizations were present including His Eminence Archbishop Khajag Barsamian, Primate of the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Church of America and His Grace, Bishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Vicar General of the Eastern Prelacy. Both relayed the importance of promoting the youth in our community to love the Armenian language and the Armenian community at large. The Very Reverend Father Mamigon Kiledjian read the Kontag, from His Holiness Karekin II, Catholicos of all Armenians, from Etchmiadzin, Armenia congratulating the school on the special occasion.
The guest honoree, Tavitian, said a few words upon accepting the award for the role and commitment to education that he has contributed to throughout his lifetime of philanthropic work. He began by expressing the importance of education for the future of our nation. “I visited Hovnanian School last June… I was very, very impressed. [The School’s administration and faculty] knew the value of building self-confidence [in their students] and mostly the value of teaching how to think… Having an Armenian school gives you that opportunity to connect to and preserve your ethnicity and is absolutely essential and great.”
Hovnanian School is a private, not-for-profit, non-sectarian, co-educational Day School accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Classes range from Early Learning Center through the 8th grade. Professional multilingual instruction in English, Armenian, French, and Spanish is offered from the earliest grades through the transitional years of junior high school.