Sideline Spotlight: Andrew Kzirian, Glenn Papazian Honored with Varadian Spirit Award

A pair of lifelong AYF members with at least 100 years of community service between them were honored during the 2018 AYF Olympics weekend. Glenn Papazian and Andrew Kzirian received the Varadian Spirit Award.

For Papazian, the award was a reflection of his family as well as his mother, Ann, who was Olympic queen in 2010. That’s the last time the games were in Philadelphia. Papazian has been an active member of the AYF since the 1960s. He has been an AYF executive and a notable basketball player. He was also a coach from 1978-1989, winning AYF basketball championships in back-to-back fashion in 1983 and 1984. Expressing his gratitude, Papazian said it’s also special being recognized in the same year as Rich Keshgegian and Mike Shamlian—two players he coached in basketball.

Papazian has also been on a string of Philadelphia Olympic committees, pouring his energy into his work and enthusiastically motivating others to do the same. In 1995, he co-chaired Olympics with Rick Keshgegian and seven years later, he co-chaired with Dave Papazian and Anto Baronian. Then in 2010 and again this year, he chaired all Olympic athletic activity.

Papazian is also active in his church community, serving as chair and on the board of trustees for 11 years. He was also editor of the church newsletter—“Illuminator.”

Co-recipient and friend Kzirian said, “Glenn is a 24/7 community inspiration.” Kzirian, a longtime activist, said he’s proud that his sons, Jim and Andrew, are helping to carry on his legacy. Both have followed in their father’s footsteps and have become leaders in the AYF. “We all try to help perpetuate our identity for our kids and communities. This is very meaningful,” said Kzirian.  

Mike Varadian & Andrew and Madonna Kzirian

Kzirian has been an active member of the Philadelphia Sebouh chapter since the 1960s. He was a member of the the AYF Central Executive Committee in 1970 when he helped write the still widely used AYF Central Executive blue books. In 1977, he was the director of Camp Haiastan. Kzirian has always been an active member of the Philadelphia ARF, committed to supporting new members as a lecturer and mentor for the ARF Novice Program. Kzirian has also chaired April 24 commemoration committees and the Armenian Inter-Communal Committee (five churches) of Philadelphia’s 102nd anniversary of Genocide event. As an active member of St. Gregory’s Church of Philadelphia, Kzirian served on the Board of Trustees from 1989-1993 and has been an NRA delegate since 2013.

Kzirian’s longtime support and commitment to the community truly reflect his AYF spirit, an internal drive he has kept alive for decades.

These perpetually giving spirits—Glenn Papazian and Andrew Kzirian—are well-represented in the meaning behind Mal Varadian’s award. “Be an AYF member, be an active participant and supporter in your community, and give back when you leave the organization to maintain and improve it—make it better—for others who come along.”

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Harry Derderian

Harry Derderian is a native of Indian Orchard, Mass and resident of Farmington Hills, Mich. He is a member of the Marketing faculty at Eastern Michigan University as well as adjunct professor of marketing at University of Michigan-Dearborn and adjunct Professor of Business at Schoolcraft Community College.

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