WASHINGTON—Hamasdegh Armenian School students presented a moving program of Armenian Genocide commemorative poetry recitations, songs, and readings to a capacity audience of parents, classmates, and community members gathered at the Soorp Khatch Armenian Church Arabian Hall to mark the 103rd anniversary of that crime.
The April 22 program was creatively narrated by Mrs. Shoghik Aguilian, who guided the audience through haunting recitations and music beautifully presented by students of all ages coupled with individually shared student testimonials of their ancestors’ harrowing escape during the Genocide, paying homage and expressing their gratefulness to their heroism.
The Hamasdegh School Chorus, under the direction of music teacher Tamar Kolejian Penenian, offered powerful renditions of songs—from “Tzitzernag” to “Arjani,” “Sardarabad” to “Hayer Miatsek,” and “Hayastani Yerkuh”—honoring the past, celebrating the Armenian nation’s rebirth and unity. Musical accompaniment was graciously provided by Mr. Gagik Vartanian. Video from the musical presentation is available below.
Eighth graders Lara Tatarian, Caroline and Natalie Matikian, Lena Kevorkian and Sune Hamparian shared their great-grandparents’ family stories of Armenian Genocide survival. Students from the 2nd through 7th grades recited poetry, including Gurgen Alemshah’s “Im Heravor Hairenik”, Moushegh Ishkhan’s “Hye Lezoon” and various Psalms, Khatchig Dashtentz’s “Hayeren”, Hamasdegh’s “Hayoo Hogin”, Paruir Sevak’s “Ghoghanch Veratznman,” and Hovannes Shiraz’ “Amenayn Srtov”. Video of the seventh-grade presentation of “Amenayn Srtov” is available below.
Homenetmen Scouts opened the program with the presentation of colors as students laid carnations at a replica of the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial, made by teachers and parents.
The Armenian Youth Federation (AYF-YOARF) Washington “Ani” chapter’s David Bournazian, a graduate of the Hamasdegh Armenian School, offered moving keynote remarks with a special message to students to be active in their church, school and community organizations. “We all have a responsibility as Armenians to maintain and advance our culture into the future,” said Bournazian. “Eighty-five years ago, Hitler asked ‘Who remembers the Armenians?’ Twenty-seven years ago, we did not have an independent Armenia and Artsakh. I am so proud of what our people have accomplished so far; but there is more yet to be accomplished. We are constantly taking steps toward justice. Every time you come to Hamasdegh School, every time you come to church, every time you go to an AYF or Homenetmen meeting, you persevere. Anytime you volunteer for an event, you are helping our cause.” Video of Bournazian’s remarks is available below.
Soorp Khatch Armenian Church pastor, Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian led participants in a closing prayer, followed by a chorus rendition of “Cilicia.” The program was live-broadcast on Facebook through the assistance of Dr. Zareh Soghomonian.
Earlier in the day, Fr. Sarkis Aktavoukian led a Holy Badarak in honor of the Holy Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide.
The Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Greater Washington, D.C. thanks Hamasdegh Armenian School principal, Mrs. Janet Ahwal Peltekian, and all the teachers and students for the heartwarming program.
Photos from the Hamasdegh Armenian School commemoration program are posted on the Armenian Genocide Commemorative Committee of Greater Washington Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Armenian-Genocide-Commemorative-Committee-of-Greater-Washington-624164957597879/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2075180909162936