First Day of School: Reflections from a Parent of a High School Senior

A group of Pilibos high school seniors

BY TALINE TAVIDIAN GHARIBIAN

“Mom, do you realize that this Monday will be my last ‘First Day’ at Pilibos?”

My heart dropped when I heard this question from my daughter Tamar this morning, not because I just became aware of this fact, but because I saw that look on her face, and all her thoughts and feelings behind it as she uttered those words. At that very moment, I was transported back in time to June 2000. It was Tamar’s last day at Postoian Preschool where she had been attending since she was two and a half years old. I was holding her hand and walking out of the playground gate. All of a sudden she stopped, turned around, paused for a brief moment as if to reminisce about her experiences there, and without saying a word turned back and walked out of the gate.

I have never forgotten that look. And now, after so many more memorable experiences and twelve years later, stands in front of me this seventeen year old with a similar look on her face! A look of a bittersweet feeling, a feeling that says, “Finally, but it’s over so quickly!” A feeling of disequilibrium …

The most interesting thing about this is that I feel the same way. As a parent of two children, who have grown up at Pilibos and have developed their knowledge base and their individuality so successfully, and as an alumni of this great institution, I am very proud of our beloved school.

Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School has come a long way. Since its inception in 1969 in a little house on Alexandria Avenue in Hollywood, California with just over ten students, Pilibos has developed into one of the most prestigious schools in California thanks to so many giving individuals who believe in the spirit of Pilibos and contribute to its success.

I have never been worried or concerned about my daughters’ well being or education throughout their years at Pilibos and I continue to have the utmost trust and respect toward every faculty and staff member I have come in contact with during all of their schooling. Having this peace of mind in our children’s education and their school environment is priceless to me. Pilibos is a very small community where everyone knows everyone else. Just like the saying “It takes a village”, I know that in this village my daughters are well taken care of.

During the years I have heard and been a part of many controversial discussions and conversations with other parents about whether or not it is a good idea or if it’s worth the money to send your child to a private Armenian school. Furthermore, we lived walking distance from a few public schools during the past years, and at times the thought of free public education that could offer more opportunities may have seemed tempting. However, I believe the few extra miles we drove and the tuition we paid were all worth it. I have no doubts and no regrets.

I can honestly say that sending my daughters to Pilibos was and still is the best decision we have ever made. They have both grown into these wonderful and thoughtful human beings who are enthusiastic about their future, are knowledgeable and proud of their Armenian heritage and culture, and are basically well-rounded individuals who are ready for the world outside of Pilibos walls.

So I share the feeling of contentment with my daughters with appreciation and gratitude. Thank you Pilibos for being Areen’s (class of 2011) and Tamar’s  (class of 2013) trusted and irreplaceable school for over fifteen years.

Looking forward to another amazing year together!

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10 Comments

  1. Tigran said:

    I’m sorry but whilst we are in the midst of a crisis I find that there is no place for stories such as this on the front page. Leave it for the Community section.

  2. Gareen said:

    Education of our future generation, specially in this day and age, is of utmost importance.
    Thank you Asbarez for publishing this. Well written and a great message for all spyourkahye parents who are confronted with these decisions on a daily basis.

  3. Karen said:

    If we lose our humanity, we will not be able to handle the “crisis” that you are afraid of.

  4. Alice said:

    Loved the article Taline, I agree wholeheartedly! Miss our carpool conversations…

  5. Jack Der-Sarkissian said:

    Ms. Gharibian – your choice of an Armenian school allowed your daughter Tamar to truly learn about remaining Armenian here in America. This was a good choice and a good learning for Tamar. 90%+ of other Armenian parents here in greater Los Angeles are choosing otherwise (non-Armenian schools). Given this trend the Pilibos community may not be around for Tamar’s future children. And that will be a terrible loss. For my SCAL community then this is front-page news as we recognize this one student’s (and her parent’s) important journey of choosing to remain Armenian in America.

  6. Boston Armo said:

    Take it easy Tigran…just like any other newspaper it’s a “Feel Good Piece”

  7. Taline G. said:

    Thank you all for reading my article and for your comments. I truly appreciate them.

  8. Karnig said:

    Pretty much all local SoCal Armenian schools I am familiar with have a very important intangible that we seem to overlook, and that is a sense of belonging. Our children attending Armenian schools have a little bit of an advantage over the others that don’t attend Armenian Schools. Yes, Armenian schools have some shortcomings when compared to public schools and or super expensive private ones, but one cannot measure the advantage of this ” a little bit of homeland ” if you will.

    Young parents beware and judge the importance according to your thoughts before you decide on a path for schooling your children, taking into consideration the expenses of private schooling.

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