WATERTOWN, Mass.—St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) successfully completed its 39th academic year. This accomplishment is thanks to the efforts of a highly competent and dedicated teaching staff, individualized instruction, specialist teachers, updated teaching materials, curriculum and technology, many after school enrichment programs and a comprehensive assessment program.
Graduation ceremonies were held on June 15 for kindergarteners and June 16 for elementary students in the presence of an enthusiastic crowd of parents and friends of the school. Both programs were dedicated to the importance of a strong bond between Armenia, Artsakh and the Diaspora. This theme was presented through songs, poems and Armenian dance. On both days, the students surprised Principal Houry Boyamian, who is retiring after serving as principal of the school for 35 years, with beautiful songs dedicated to her.
In her remarks, Boyamian expressed her deep love and appreciation for her teaching and administrative staff. She conveyed her warm feelings to the school’s former and current parents, wished success to all her students and graduates and thanked the school board and committees, the St. Stephen’s Church pastor and Board of Trustees, the Armenian Cultural and Educational Center and all the individuals and organizations that contribute to the school’s advancement. She also extended her best wishes to the new head of school, Dr. Garine Palandjian.
His Eminence, Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian, Prelate of the Armenian Eastern Prelacy, who could not be present at these events, sent a letter that was presented to Boyamian by Archpriest Fr. Antranig Baljian. School Board treasurer Meher Nerkizian and Board chair Michael Guzelian also expressed their appreciation to Boyamian. Fr. Baljian and Guzelian presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation from Archbishop Tanielian, in which His Eminence proclaimed Boyamian Principal Emeritus. Guzelian announced that the School Board is planning two major events in 2023 and 2024 to celebrate Boyamian’s illustrious career.
On June 15, Principal Boyamian and Preschool Director Maral Orchanian honored three preschool teachers for their dedicated longtime service: Music and NII teacher Yelena Hakopyan (11 years), NI teacher Svetlana Vehapetian (21 years) and NII teacher Maral Derderian (33 years). Boyamian also honored Diane Chiappinelli, who is retiring this year after serving as Kindergarten teacher for seven years.
The following students graduated from kindergarten: Annabelle Apelian, Luseh Avakian, Karina Badrikian, Raquelle Balian, Christian Barsoumian, Ani Brown, Alik Etyemezian, Meghety Garabedian, Vahan Garabedian, Naro Karagueuzian, Bronson Mancilikli, Isabelle Manjikian, Nairi Mardiros, Aurelian Mardirosian, Lincoln Markarian, Azad Massouyan, Aramayis Melikyan, Alexander Mikaelian, Aram Nerkizian, Edward Simonyan and Niko Soukiassian.
On June 16, Principal Boyamian honored two elementary teachers for their longtime service: Computer and Math Resource teacher Michele Arthur (10 years) and Physical Education teacher Richard Samaria (12 years). Fr. Baljian and Principal Boyamian also honored Arlet Ashjian, who retired from her administrative assistant position after 17 years of dedicated service with a Certificate of Recognition from the Armenian Prelacy.
The following students graduated from the elementary school: Lusine Agajanyan, Natalia Behbahani, Zaven Bell, Serli Garabedian, Chloe Kebabjian, Nareg Mardiros, Tro Melkonian, Richard Smith-Faniants, Arianna Tinkjian and Victoria Torosyan.
2023 Graduating Class Awards
Prelacy Award for Excellence in Armenian or in Armenian History (silver coin of Levon the 1st)
In Armenian: Natalia Behbahani, Richard Smith Faniants, Serli Garabedian, Arianna Tinkjian and Victoria Torosyan
In Armenian History: Zaven Bell and Tro Melkonian
Armenian Relief Society Award
Nareg Mardiros for excelling in Armenian History
School’s Education Committee Award
Lusine Agajanyan and Chloe Kebabjian for their interest and effort in the Armenian language
President’s Education Awards–Gr. 5
Presidential Award for Academic Excellence
Tro Melkonian and Arianna Tinkjian
Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement
Zaven Bell, Richard Smith Faniants, Serli Garabedian and Victoria Torosyan
Presidential Award for Academic Excellence: The purpose of this award is to recognize the academic success of students who have excelled in their studies and who have earned high scores in the Standardized Tests.
Presidential Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement: The purpose of this award is to reward students who work hard and give their best effort in school.
American Citizenship Award
For Outstanding Leadership and Respectful Behavior towards others:
Natalia Behbahani and Serli Garabedian