WATERTOWN, Mass.—St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) has successfully completed its 35th academic year. The Watertown Armenian school held its 2019 graduation ceremonies on June 13 (kindergarten) and June 14 (elementary), in the presence of enthusiastic parents and clergy from local Armenian churches.
On June 14, Dr. Vartan Matiossian, executive director of the Armenian National Education Committee (ANEC) arrived from New York for the elementary graduation.
The kindergarten and elementary graduation programs were dedicated to the 35th anniversary of the school. Students celebrated through song, poems and dance. The elementary program was also dedicated to the 150th anniversaries of Gomidas Vartabed and poet Hovaness Toumanyan, as well as to the Armenian press, per the ‘Year of the Press’ announcement by Aram Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia.
In her address, Principal Houry Boyamian presented the theme and thanked the faculty, the administrative staff, the PTO, the parent volunteers, the school board and committees, the St. Stephen’s Church Board of Trustees, St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church Rev. Fr. Archpriest Antranig Baljian, as well as all the organizations and individuals that contribute to the advancement of the school. School Board Chair Levon Barsoumian also thanked the school committees and parent volunteers.
On June 13, Preschool Director Maral Orchanian addressed the students’ goals and accomplishments. Also that evening, Boyamian honored three preschool teachers—Laura Terzian and Vicky Ashjian for their 10 years of service with the silver logo of the school and Anna Kupelian for her 20 years of service with a special gift from the school.
Orchanian was also honored for two decades of service (10 years as a preschool teacher and 10 years as the preschool director). After highlighting her distinct attributes and deep commitment to the well-being of her students and teachers, Boyamian was joined by Rev. Archpriest Baljian and education committee co-chair Heather Krafian. Orchanian received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, a Certificate of Appreciation from His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Eastern Prelacy and a special gift from the school brought from Armenia. Then, alumnus Isabella Balian (Class of 2014) spoke eloquently about her experience under Orchanian’s instruction. The preschool students also performed a song dedicated to Orchanian.
On June 14, Boyamian recognized Ardemis Megerdichian for her two decades of service as an Armenian teacher for first through fifth graders. Boyamian stressed that Megerdichian not only teaches the Armenian language and history, but that she also instills in her students the Armenian spirit and immense love for the motherland. She mentioned that in addition to teaching, Megerdichian prepares the graduation night program and the itinerary of the graduating class trip to Armenia. She has also encouraged her fifth graders to write and illustrate books, which are later presented to the younger children.
Boyamian was joined by Rev. Archpriest Baljian, Krista Aftandilian (co-chair of the education committee) and Dr. Matiossian in presenting Megerdichian’s awards. Megerdichian received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Ministry of Diaspora of the Republic of Armenia, a Certificate of Appreciation from His Eminence Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian and a special gift from the school brought from Armenia. Then, alumnus Meghri Dervartanian (Class of 2008) spoke eloquently about her experience under Megerdichian’s instruction, followed by a performance from the second and third graders.
After the performances, Archpriest Baljian and Dr. Mateossian expressed their appreciation to the administration and faculty for their dedication and effort in providing an excellent education to all students.
Archpriest Baljian and Principal Boyamian presented the diplomas. This year, the Prelacy Award for Excellence in Armenian Studies was the silver coin of Levon I. Coincidentally this year is the 800th anniversary of the passing of Levon I.
The following 15 students graduated from kindergarten: Mary Aljalian, Kami Arzoumanian, Arianna Badrikian, Adriana Bechirian, Armen Gebeyan, Roman Ghazaryan, Avo Hacobian, Alique Iskenderian, Evelyn Mancilikli, Naira Minassian, Patrick Mulvey, Leon Nergaryan, Catalina Salibian, Tsolaire Seraderian and Hrag Tokadjian.
The following 20 students graduated from elementary school, bringing the total number of SSAES graduates to 328: Vartan Arakelian, Andre Bashirians, Julia Chapian, Lara Chekijian, Sonya Haleblian, Gacia Haserjian, Saro Iskenderian, Anais Kahvejian, Lea Karapetian, Sarine Markarian, Narineh Mardiros, Zulal Mardinian, Gassia Minassian, Nareg Minassian, Nicholas Nalbandyan, Vicken Panian, Alla Petrosyan, Arinne Stepanian, Sophia Tinkjian and Nshaun Yacoubian.
2019 SSAES Awards
Special and Unprecedented Award in Mathematics awarded by the school to Vartan Arakelian, Gr.5
– 3rd Nationwide and 2nd Statewide in Math Kangaroo International Competition, in 2017
– 1st Nationwide and 1st Statewide in Math Kangaroo International Competition, in 2018
– 2019 recipient of George Lenchner Award for a Perfect Score at the International Mathematical Olympiad (with over 100,000 participants), receiving the Gold Pin for the 5th grade level and the Silver Pin for the 7th and 8th grade level
Awards for Armenian Studies, Gr. 5
-Prelacy Award for Excellence in Armenian Studies: Vartan Arakelian, Saro Iskenderian, Alla Petrosyan, Arinne Stepanian, Andre Bashirians, Lara Chekijian, Gassia Minassian, Narineh Mardiros, Lea Karapetian and Nareg Minassian
-Armenian Relief Society (ARS) Award for Excellence in Armenian Studies: Vartan Arakelian
-SSAES Education Committee Award: Anais Kahvejian, Sophia Tinkjian for Fluency in Oral Expression
Certificate of Recognition for their Special Strength in Armenian Studies
-Fluency in Reading: Julia Chapian and Gacia Haserjian
-For Interest in Armenian History: Nshaun Yacubian, Zulal Merdinian and Sarine Markarian
-For Interest in Armenian Traditions and Customs: Sonya Haleblian
-For Positive Attitude Toward Armenian: Vicken Panian and Nicholas Nalbandyan
President’s Education Award – Gr. 5
-Presidential Award for Academic Excellence–recognizes the academic success of students who have excelled in their studies and who have earned high scores in the Standardized Tests
–Vartan Arakelian, Lara Chekijian, Lea Karapetian, Sarine Markarian
-Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement–rewards students who work hard and give their best effort in school
–Anais Kahvejian, Julia Chapian
American Citizenship Award – Gr. 5 – recognizes students who show a positive attitude toward classmates, school and community; display an understanding and appreciation of civic responsibility; possess strength of character and the courage to do what is right
–Narineh Mardiros, Nicholas Nalbandyan, Sophia Tinkjian
Certificate of Recognition for Special Strength – Gr. 5
-Consistent Effort: Alla Petrossyan
–Consistent Effort and Creativity: Gassia Minassian
-Academic Perseverance: Gacia Haserjian and Vicken Panian
-Superior Work Ethic: Zulal Merdinian and Sonya Haleblian
-Compassionate Leadership and Artistic Expression: Saro Iskenderian
-Creative and Critical Thinking: Nareg Minassian
–Creative Writing and Social Studies: Nshaun Yacubian
-Excellence in Math: Andre Bashirians
-Literature and Science: Arinne Stepanian
Nishan and Arshalouys Najarian Scholarship Fund for Music & Art: ($150 each)
Art: Mane Arzunyan, Garo Gebeyan, Armen Barsoumian
Music: Gabriel Aljalian, Vanessa Atakian, Patil Mardiros