LOS ANGELES—Earlier this year, the board of directors of the Arshag Dickranian School announced the closure of the K-12 Armenian day school in Hollywood operated by the Tekeyan Cultural Association and established in 1981 to serve the educational needs of the community.
Immediately after the announcement in late spring, a group of community members, parents and educators began an effort to salvage the school and appeals were made to various entities including the Western Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church, which undertook an effort to prevent the school from closing to no avail.
Below is a statement issued by the Western Diocese the explains some of the intricacies of its efforts. We present it in its entirety below:
It pains us to speak about the closure of Tekeyan Cultural Association’s Arshag Dickranian School, for the respectable institution had been a precious jewel within the community. Having operated closely with the neighboring St. John Garabed Armenian Church, the Arshag Dickranian School had always had the full-fledged support of not only St. John Garabed Armenian Church but also the entire Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America. For decades, our Diocesan benefactors had demonstrated their care for the venerable institution that had served the community for over 30 years.
When we were indirectly informed about the TCA’s intent to close the school and list the property for sale, St. John Garabed and the Western Diocese, driven by feelings of affection toward the students of the school, expressed a desire to acquire the institution from Tekeyan Cultural Association to ensure the continuity of the educational mission of Arshag Dickranian School. Despite the tremendous financial burden and the issue of unprecedented administrative responsibility, St. John Garabed and the Western Diocese sought every avenue to ensure the continuity of the mission of the school by making a formal fair market value offer to Tekeyan Cultural Association. With the Western Diocese having the experience of operating a thriving school, the Parish and Diocesan leaders fully supported the acquisition of Arshag Dickranian School by St. John Garabed and the Western Diocese. Regretfully, the Primate’s purchase offer dated May 18 was not accepted with the same zeal and sentiment. In a letter dated June 4, 2015, the Tekeyan Cultural Association “failed to identify firm and reliable guarantees regarding the continuation of the School’s mission in its current location” by St. John Garabed and the Western Diocese. In short, TCA’s Board deemed the religious institution, the Armenian Apostolic Church, which has served the Western United States for over 80 years as unreliable. Citing this as a primary reason, the Tekeyan Cultural Association formally rejects the offer of the Western Diocese, without a counter offer, and sells the property to a unidentified organization based solely on “real market prices” and abandons the continuation of the school’s mission in its current location.
The purpose of this announcement is to inform the community about the noble intention of St. John Garabed Armenian Church and the Western Diocese in extending a helping hand for the purpose of saving an institution that educates and inspires our youth.
In choosing to pursue “fiducial obligations” the TCA Board neglected the core of our community… our youth, thus alienating the Armenian students and depriving them from the quality education every Armenian student deserves. It is truly heartbreaking for our students to be abandoned in such a manner, especially in metropolitan Los Angeles, home to perhaps the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia.
WESTERN DIOCESE COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT