MONTEBELLO—Hundreds of Armenian school students from across Southern California gathered at the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument in Montebello, California, to honor the memories of their ancestors and commemorate the centennial of the Armenian Genocide.
Students, parents, faculty, and administration were present from the following California Armenian schools: Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School, Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) Manoogian-Demirdjian School, AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School, Armenian Mesrobian School, Armenian Sisters Academy, Charlotte and Elise Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School, Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian School, Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School, Sahag – Mesrob Armenian Christian School, St. Gregory Alfred & Marguerite Hovsepian School, Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian School.
In the morning, Mesrobian Middle and High School students marched from campus toward the monument, a decades old tradition for the school. They stopped at City Hall to meet with City Officials for an official flag ceremony in solidarity with the Armenian community.
Welcoming everyone on behalf of all the Armenian school principals in his opening remarks at the start of the program was David Ghoogasian, Principal of Armenian Mesrobian School, which hosted the event.
Very Reverend Muron Azniguian and Rev. Ashod Kambourian led the opening prayers, which were followed by the Pledge of Allegiance and Armenian National Anthem.
Former Mayor of the City of Montebello and current Councilmember Jack Hadjinian (Mesrobian Class of 1996) was in attendance, and spoke to students about the privilege of attending an Armenian school and the responsibilities that come with it. He also spoke about his grandfather who was a survivor of the Armenian genocide.
Students gathered after the opening ceremony to lay flowers at the base of the Monument.
“Pari Arakil,” “Zartir Lao,” and “Azk Parabandz” were performed by Greg Hosharian, who is Mesrobian’s instrumental music teacher, George Bilezikjian on the Dhol and Greg Miller on the guitar.
Closing prayers were led by Very Reverend Muron Azniguian and Rev. Ashod Kambourian, who were joined by Alex Manougian a Mesrobian High School student who regularly volunteers on the altar at Holy Cross Armenian Apostolic Cathedral.
People left the event feeling moved and inspired by the commemoration and the show of unity between the local Armenian schools and communities.