WATERTOWN, Mass.—St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School dedicated the week of April 13 to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. An extensive age-appropriate program was developed involving Kindergarten to Grade 5 students.
On Mon., April 13, parents were invited to attend an exhibition of student art work related to the Armenian Genocide. Grades 4 and 5 prepared life-size representations of Armenian traditional costumes, typical of regions from where Armenians were deported in 1915, such as Van, Sassoun, and Moush. Grade 3 students illustrated traditional recipes, typical of the regions from where Armenians were deported during the genocide, such as Aintab, Marash, and Ourfa. Then they created a cookbook with their illustrated recipes, adding a map of Western Armenia. Grade 2 students prepared their family tree and illustrated the letters of the Armenian alphabet. Grade 1 students prepared the logo of the Centennial, the Forget-Me-Not flower. And Kindergarten students colored Armenian national costumes.
On Tues., April 14, parents were invited to attend a Talent Show presented by Grades 1-5. The intent was to show that 100 years after the genocide the new generation is excelling and thriving. Some of the students performed on the piano, violin, cello, or guitar; others displayed their artistic talents through poetry and voice.
On Thurs., April 16, Grades 3-5 attended an interactive presentation about the Armenian Genocide directed by Stepan Piligian. Students were asked to line up behind signs of cities from where their ancestors were deported; then, stickers with the name of these cities were placed on a big map. This was followed by a visit to our school by Gomidas Vartabed, Zabel Yessayan, and Catholicos Sahag II, thanks to a time machine. The program ended with students asking these prominent figures questions.
On Fri., April 17, the school hosted Canadian author Marsha Skrypuch, whose 19 books include Aram’s Choice and Call Me Aram. These two books have been part of the school’s genocide curriculum for Grades 4 and 5 for the last five years; the students read them during the month of April. After Skrypuch’s presentation, the students had the opportunity to ask questions and to get signed copies of her books.
On April 24, Grades 4 and 5 students participated in the commemoration events at the Massachusetts State House, as well as at the Armenian Heritage Park in Boston. They marched from the State House to the Heritage Park holding a banner that read, “We Remember and Demand.”
In the evening of April 24, St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School graduates took a leadership role in organizing the vigil at the Armenian Heritage Park and bringing their active participation to the program.
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