Prelacy Schools’ Students Collectively Celebrate the Centennial of the First Republic of Armenia

On Friday, May 4, 2018, 1,300 students and teachers of Prelacy Schools gathered at Rio Hondo Park adjacent to Armenian Mesrobian School in Pico Rivera to collectively celebrate the centennial of the first Republic of Armenia. The event was organized by the Board of Regents of Prelacy Schools and Principals. 5th to 12th grade students participated, while on the same day, Pre-School to 4th grade students held similar celebrations at their individual schools. Holy Cross Cathedral Dean, Very Rev. Fr. Muron Aznikian, and Parish Pastor, Rev. Fr. Ashod Kambourian, participated on behalf of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate.

The program began with the flag ceremony by Homenetmen scouts and the national anthems of the U.S. and Armenia. Board of Regents Chair Mrs. Lisa Gaboudian welcomed the students and invited the clergy to offer a prayer. Fr. Muron and Fr. Ashod led the singing of the Lord’s Prayer, after which Fr. Muron read the Prelate’s message.

His Eminence first commended the Board of Regents, which alongside school boards and principals organized the historic celebration of the centennial, a day of national pride and triumph. Addressing the students, he had written, “Independence wasn’t handed to our forefathers, it was achieved through a long and hard struggle and sacrifice and in the most difficult of circumstances only three years following the start of the Genocide. We have had great triumphs in our history, and today too, our brave soldiers in Artsakh continue the path paved by our forefathers at Sardarabad, a path that will lead to ultimate victory and the waving of our tri-color across all of our lands. Join in the fight and keep the will and legacy of our forefathers alive.”

ANCA Chairman Mr. Raffi Hamparian served as the MC and delivered his inspiring message to the youth. Citing the following line from the poem Sardarabad, “Ring the bells, call the holy braves to this just land,” Mr. Hamparian stated that in 1918, heroes heard the bells at Sardarabad, Gharakilise, and Pash Abaran and they responded with bravery. In 1988 those same bells rang in Artsakh and heroes responded once again, and two weeks ago in Armenia, a new generation heard bells of a different nature and gathered in the streets to fight for a more just and free Armenia. Thus, he urged the students to listen for the bells and respond. Second, citing an old saying from Dikranagerd, “You plant a tree so that one day you can sit in the shade,” Mr. Hamparian stated that all of us, whether in Armenia or the Diaspora, are farmers of the Armenian Cause, and that we need to pland the seeds for our future and nurture them to strengthen our nation.

Remarks were also delivered by Pico Rivera Councilman Bob Archuleta.

The program continued with traditional and patriotic songs, recitations, and dances presented by students, and special appearances by Harout Pamboukjian and Sebu Simonian.

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