STEPANAKERT, Artsakh—More than 40 members of the ARS Eastern USA witnessed the long-awaited opening of the Soseh Kindergarten. Arriving at the school building, they saw blue and white balloons—the symbolic colors of the ARS—adorn the front entrance, as an enthusiastic crowd gathered to listen to the congratulatory opening remarks.
Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan, Primate Archbishop Barkev Martirosyan, Artsakh Prime Minister Arayik Karutyunyan, Speaker of the Artsakh Parliament Ashot Ghulyan, ARS Central Executive Board Chair Caroline Chamavonian, Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) Bureau Member Hagop Der Khatchadourian, members of the ARF Central Committee of Artsakh, ARS Central Executive Board members, fundraising committee chair Angele Manoogian, as well as ARS members from some 10 countries and local community members were present at the opening ceremony. After many invited guests offered their congratulatory remarks, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and visitors were invited to then tour the building.
The ARS Eastern USA members were excited to finally enter the building and explore the school. Upon entry, they could see the ARS Eastern USA-sponsored principal’s office with the name of the Eastern Region proudly displayed on the plaque outside.
ARS Eastern USA Chair Talin Daghlian and Vice Chair Sandra Vartanian greeted the Principal and presented the school’s students with especially made pencil cases filled with school supplies as well as hand-knitted hats. The principal was pleased to receive the gifts, which were to be distributed immediately to each student.
Walking through the building, one could see the spacious and brightly painted rooms. Several rooms had Eastern Region chapter names on them, and individual members’ names, which were also a source of great pride. Students were seen in a classroom with their parents, eagerly waiting to begin their school days there. A graduate of the Soseh Kindergarten who addressed guests during the opening remarks said he was very emotional and happy that his little sister would now be attending the school.
The ARS Eastern USA members expressed their excitement and pride at being at the opening and witnessing how their chapters’ fundraising efforts helped to make the school a reality. They had a chance to mingle with all those who attended as a reception was held for all to enjoy. Attendees left the school full of hope and joy, looking forward to the ARS of Artsakh’s 25th Anniversary banquet that evening.
During the afternoon, Daghlian and Vartanian attended a gathering for the soldiers and their families. At that gathering, they were able to offer financial assistance to the soldiers or their family members. It was a unique opportunity to meet actual recipients of assistance.
The ARS Eastern USA members and tour participants joined in the evening’s banquet as the celebration began. Many speakers were invited to share their congratulatory remarks with the guests. To begin, the children of the new school, dressed up and full of pride, were asked to join in, and several shared their thanks about the opening. Chair of the ARS Central Executive Board Caroline Chamavonian and Chair of the ARS Artsakh Regional Board Ruzanna Abrahamyan addressed the guests, as did ARF Bureau member Hagop Der Khatchadourian, among many others. Armenian dancers and vocalists entertained those in attendance throughout the evening.
Later on in the evening, the principal of the Soseh Kindergarten, Mrs. Nelly Ghoulian, was presented with a silver ARS logo-embossed emblem for display in her office by ARS Eastern USA Chairperson Talin Daghlian on behalf of the region. The emblem was donated by Antranig DerOhanessian of New Jersey for the joyous occasion.
Sept. 7 was full of excitement as many buses headed to Martakert, to the army base, to spend the day with soldiers. A formal opening was held, and the rest of the afternoon was spent singing, dancing, and talking with the soldiers outside. Afterward, a luncheon was held and there the joyful mood continued. Attendees took great pride in spending time with the soldiers and offering support to them for their defense of Artsakh.
In the evening, President Sahakyan hosted an outdoor banquet for dignitaries, community leaders ,and the entire international ARS community with over 500 in attendance. It was an honor for the ARS Eastern USA to join in this gathering and witness the pride felt by everyone for the opening of the Soseh Kindergarten.
It was truly an unforgettable week in Artsakh and Armenia for the ARS Eastern USA members and guests.