St. Stephen’s School Holds Graduation Ceremonies

WATERTOWN, Mass.–The St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School this month successfully completed its 25th academic year. The Graduation Ceremonies were held on June 18 (kindergarten) and June 19 (elementary) in the presence of parents and friends, as well as the pastors of the St. Stephen’s, First Armenian, and St. James churches.

On both days, Principal Houry Boyamian focused on the school’s recent achievements, especially the graduating class trip to Armenia and the results of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills. This year, the 4th graders’ combined total score in Reading, Language, and Mathematics was in the top 18 percent of students nationally. The second grade students’ combined total score in Reading, Language, and Mathematics was in the top 21.5 percent of students nationally.

Boyamian then thanked the faculty, administrative staff, the PTO and parent volunteers, the school Board and committees, as well as all the organizations and individuals that have contributed to the advancement of the school. She extended special thanks to the Mirak family for their very generous donation earlier this year of $200,000.

On June 18, Boyamian honored four teachers for their long years of dedicated service. Maral Orchanian and Anna Kupelian received the silver logo of the school for 10 years of service. Araxie Poladian and Mrs.Maral Derderian received the golden logo of for 15 and 18 years of service, respectively.

At the elementary school graduation ceremony, Boyamian honored Ardemis Megerdichian with the silver logo for 10 years of service as an Armenian teacher to grades 1-5. She also honored with a special plaque Shari Melkonian for serving on the Education Committee for eight years, and one year on the school Board.

“In addition to her many contributions to the Education Committee and the Board, her major accomplishments are the graduating class trip to Armenia, the book club, and the hot lunch program,” said Boyamian. “She has initiated and organized all three programs with great professionalism and great care.”

Boyamian then thanked Alik Arzoumanian for serving as an excellent art teacher for the past seven years and Ani Changalian for publishing the school’s yearbook for the last two years.

On June 18, preschool director Maral Orchanian presented the theme of the preschool and kindergarten graduation, which was “The Armenians in the United States.” The preschoolers presented songs and dances from five states—Hawaii, California, Texas, Louisiana, and New York—along with Armenian dances and songs.

On June 19, the elementary program was dedicated to the 140th anniversary of Hovannes Toumanian and the 85th anniversary of Sergei Parajanov. The elementary students presented the theme with a poetry recital, chorale songs, dance, and drama, followed by a video presentation of the fifth grade class trip to Armenia, coordinated with great expertise by Megerdichian.

In their closing remarks, John Daghlian, the chairman of St. Stephen’s Board of Trustees, and Rev. Archpriest Antranig Baljian, expressed their appreciation to the administration and faculty for their dedication and efforts.

On June 18, 19 students graduated from kindergarten. They are Nareg Aboyan, Arek Adourian, Antranig Atinizian, Isabella Balian, Berj Chekijian, Ani Davidian, Lori Ganjian, Angelina Halibian, Ani Haroutunian, Shant Karamousayan, Knar Krafian, Elizabeth Krmzian, Karina Melkonain, Lilit Michaelian, Vahan Nadjarian, Ani Ourfalian, Garen Sahakian, Gacia Vosbigian, and Isabella Yeghiayan.

On June 19, 15 students graduated from the elementary school. They are: Melanie Aftandilian, Shant Arouyan, David Babikian, Tina Barsoumian, Koko Boyajian, Soleen Ghahraman, Tenny Gregorian, Ani Hackett, kevork Hamparian, Antranig Kechejian, Varak Mouradian, Jonathan Orchanian, Lori Sahakian, Parkev Terzian, and Ani Vehapetian.

After the presentation of the diplomas, the following awards, and their recipients, were announced.

In the category of “Awards for Excellence in Armenian Studies,” the Prelacy Award was given to Tenny Gregorian, David Babikian, Varak Mouradian, and Jonathan Orchanian. The SSAE School Award was given to Lori Sahakian, Ani Vehapetian, Antranig Kechejian, and Koko Boyajian. The Armenian Relief Society Award was given to Soleen Ghahraman. And the St. Stephen’s Education Committee Award was given to Melanie Aftandilian, Shant Arouyan, Tina Barsoumian, Ani Hackett, Kevork Hamparian, and Parkev Terzian.

In the category of “President’s Education Awards,” the Presidential Award for Academic Excellence (which recognizes students who have excelled in their studies and have earned high scores on standardized tests) was given to Tenny Gregorian and David Babikian. The Presidential Award for Academic Achievement (which recognizes students for working hard and giving their best effort in school) was given to Melanie Aftandilian, Soleen Ghahraman, Ani Hackett, Lori Sahakian, Kevork Hamparian, and Antranig Kechejian,

Arouyan Shant, Tenny Gregorian, Antranig Kechejian, and Jonathan Orchanian received the Citizenship Award (which is given to students who show a positive attitude towards their classmates and community; display an understanding of civic responsibility; and possess strength of character and the courage to do what is right).

The Nishan and Arshalouys Scholarship was awarded to Alexis Cormier and Garo Bazarbashian—for “interest in the arts’—and Katarena Nalbandian and Tatiana Movsesian—for interest in music.

The winners of the ARS Essay Contest were also announced. For an Armenian essay, Lori Sahakian was awarded first place, followed by Sarine Ashjian (2nd place) and Tina Barsoumian (3rd place). For an English essay, Antranig Kechejian was awarded 2nd place, and Melanie Aftandilian was awarded 3rd place. All are in the 5th grade, except for Ashjian, who is in the 4th grade.

And finally, the Perfect Attendance Award went to Berj Chekijian and Ani Davidian (kindergarten); Ara Changelian and Gregory Cormier (Grade 1); Tatiana Movsesian and Lori Shirinian (Grade 4); and Ani Hackett (Grade 5).

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