Mekhitarist School is Latest in String of Congregation´s Historical Education - Gündem
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13 Haziran 2013  

Mekhitarist School is Latest in String of Congregation´s Historical Education

Mekhitarist School is Latest in String of Congregation´s Historical Education Mekhitarist School is Latest in String of Congregation´s Historical Education
The Mekhitarist Armenian School is part of the worldwide Mekhitarist Congregation founded in 1701 in Constantinople by Abbot Mekhitar of Sebastia. The religious and scholarly order with its two headquarters in Venice (Italy) and Vienna (Austria) owns several schools in countries such as Italy France Syria Argentina Lebanon Bolis (Turkey) and the United States. It is renowned for its excellence in education. After 14 years of leasing a school facility in La Crescenta The Mekhitarist Fathers School relocated to a location of its own in the neighboring community of Tujunga in 1998.

With an annual budget approximating $700 000 the school derives its funding mainly from its headquarters in Venice tuition fees ($350 for pre-K and $325 from first to eighth grades) and small community donations. Though 25 percent of the students are given a discount the school has always been self-sufficient.

In all our schools we try to provide culture religion and teach the students to love their nation said Fr. David Ghazarian vice-principal since 2000.

He pointed that the school enrolls students from all religious background because what really matters is the fact that the students are all Armenians. He further explained that the only distinction that can be found in the school consists in the Mekhitarist ideology. That ideology Ghazarian added is to help students develop an Armenian national spirit and an Armenian Christian soul.

Arsineh Shahmelikian who has been teaching Armenian for 20 years at the school and who is also PTA and student council president added comments on the Mekhitarist father s ideology. She said their missions mainly consists in 1) developing an Armenian national spirit 2) preserving the motherland and 3) maintaining a strong religious ethic. Currently the 4 ½ acre property houses 220 students from pre-K to eighth grade 20 teachers and four staff members. By walking up the stairs above the classrooms and the administration building one can see a basketball and large open-air soccer field surrounded by green mountains. The premises count a computer lab and a science lab as well as a well-equipped library.

Each grade has its own classroom and this reporter noticed a small student-teacher ratio which probably enables students to learn more adequately. From grades three to nine students score an average above the 65 percentile on the Stanford 9 Test. According to Ghazarian eight out of 10 students are admitted to high schools where they achieve good academic results. Those high schools include Providence High School Alex Pilibos Armenian School Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School and AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School.

Aside from academic results we want our students to have good morals and be prepared for the life of tomorrow Ghazarian added.

This Christian spirit can be found in the student council activities. The members organize many events such as collecting food for the poor recitation competitions field trips and theatre. They also write poetry and essays in Armenian in the school s monthly journal. In addition students enjoy a range of extra curricular activities. The school offers martial arts and participates in the inter-Armenian schools Hi-Quiz and the Kaham games in which students have earned first place trophies in soccer as well as second and third places in basketball competitions. Throughout the world and in the United States the Mekhitarist Congregation has achieved quite a success with all its schools.

The future also seems promising since the school is actively looking to expand its facilities in order to add a high school building as well as an athletic indoor gymnasium and a banquet hall. Though the PTA counts very devoted members who according to Shahmelikian are always present when needed and make donations to the school more funding is necessary.

Therefore Ghazarian said the school is actively planning fund-raisers which will provide the necessary funds to realize those projects.

California Courier - 11/6/2002
By Anouche Yezeguelian
Special to the Courier
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