Interschool Recitation Contest Awards Ceremony Held at the Prelacy

On Saturday, May 14, 2016, over forty students from local Armenian Schools participated in the third annual interschool recitation contest which this year was held at Armenian Sisters Academy in Montrose. The annual competition is held under the auspices of the Western Prelacy and is organized by the Board of Regents of Prelacy Schools in collaboration with an ad-hoc committee.

The awards ceremony was held on the evening of Wednesday, June 15, at the Western Prelacy “Dikran and Zarouhie Der Ghazarian” Hall, presided by H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate, who was joined by Archpriest Fr. Nareg Pehlivanian and Rev. Fr. Ghevont Kirazian. Alongside the winners, their families, and teachers, in attendance were Executive Council member Mr. Alec Baghdasaryan, Board of Regents Chair Mrs. Lisa Gaboudian and members, judging panel members Mrs. Takouhi Arzoumanian and Mr. Krikor Ogarian, organizing committee member Mr. Mihran Toumajian, who was also the Master of Ceremonies. The keynote speaker was Prof. Shushan Karapetian.

The program began with prayer, after which the MC greeted the guests, thanked the Armenian Sisters Academy administration for hosting the contest in May and all those worked hard to ensure the success of the event.

Prizes were awarded in three categories; Elementary (4th, 5th, 6th), Junior High (7th, 8th, 9th), and High School (10th, 11th, 12th), as follows: Elementary Division: 1st place – Artur Geniazyan (Pilibos School, 6th grade), 2nd place – Nicole Ziptia (AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School, 4th grade), 3rd place – Mary Javahirian (Mesrobian School, 6th grade). Junior High Division: 1st place – Araz Balian (Ferrahian School, 7th grade), 2nd place – Ani Anmahouni (Chamlian School, 7th grade) and Nshan Biligian (Pilibos School, 9th grade), 3rd place – Sevana Aivazian (AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School, 7th grade). High school Division: 1st place – Alex Manoogian (Mesrobian School, 11th grade), and 2nd place – Anoush Ghoogasian (Mesrobian School, 10th grade) and Victoria Cinquegrani (Mesrobian School, 10th grade).

The winning students participated in the program with recitations and musical performances. One of last year’s winners, Ani Tovmassian from Rose and Alex Pilibos School, who won first place at the recitation contest in Shushi last summer, participated as well.

Dr. Karapetian highlighted the role of this and similar events in the preservation of our language, stressing that it is important for our youth to learn our language but equally as important for them to use it regularly, for they have the responsibility of upholding our native tongue. She commended the students for their beautiful presentations, and expressed hope that they will continue reciting and to one day recite their own writings as well.

Citing the words of Khachadour Apovian, “learn ten languages but keep your mother tongue,” Mrs. Arzoumanian also highlighted the importance of such events, and thanked the parents, teachers, and the Prelacy and volunteers for organizing the event annually. Quoting from William Saroyan, that whenever two Armenians meet they will create a new Armenia, Mr. Ogarian proudly noted that this event is the latest testimony that Turkey failed in its attempt to annihilate the Armenian people over a century ago.

Mr. Alec Baghdasaryan, newly elected Executive Council member and founder/organizer of the Shushi Poetry Festival, congratulated and commended not only the winners but all of the participants, whom he also regarded as winners, and hoped that they will participate in the Shushi Poetry Festival in August.

The presentation of awards and mementos followed.

The closing message was delivered by the Prelate, who articulated that the event was spiritually uplifting for him and for all those present, commended the students for their moving recitations, their parents and teachers for encouraging their talents, and the organizers for their collaborative work. Citing from Silva Gaboudigian’s famed “Words for my Child” poem, in which the poet writes that our ancient language was rejuvenated on the tongue of her young child, the Prelate happily noted that our language flowed beautifully from the tongues of the young students as he urged and encouraged them to always regard and keep our mother tongue as the priceless treasure it is.

The program came to a close with the benediction, Cilicia, and the Armenian national anthem.

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