Interview with AEF Scholarship Recipient: Hamlet Khenkoyan

Hamlet Khenkoyan being awarded the AEF scholarship
Hamlet Khenkoyan being awarded the AEF scholarship

Hamlet Khenkoyan being awarded the AEF scholarship

BY MEDEA KALOGNOMOS

GLENDALE—Armenian Educational Foundation’s (AEF) reach and impact is far and wide. For decades, AEF has provided financial assistance through scholarships to Armenian students both in the United States and in Armenia, helping them to attain their educational goals. Moreover, the effect of this assistance extends far beyond financial support; it also empowers the scholarship recipients to become contributing, caring and valuable members of their community.

I interviewed a second-year scholarship recipient, Hamlet Khenkoyan, a determined, ambitious and civic-minded young man, wise beyond his years. I hope this interview will capture the spirit and the exceptional attributes of this young man. Hamlet’s sponsors are John and Gayane Pridjian of La Cañada, California who also sponsor four additional students.

Hamlet was born in 1994 in Metzamor, in the Armavir region of Armenia. In 1999, his family moved to Russia where he attended school for two years. Upon his parent’s divorce, Hamlet returned to Armenia with his sister, but when his sister decided to move to Russia permanently, Hamlet refused to go. “I did not like Russia, I wanted to stay in Armenia and serve my people and my country,” he said with confidence. Left alone, Hamlet decided to pursue his education and after graduating from high school he was admitted to the Armenian State University of Economics in Yerevan, majoring in Marketing.

From 2012 to 2014, Hamlet served in the Army as a Sergeant, conducting reconnaissance missions among his many other duties. “I was very proud and honored to serve my country but was ashamed of young people who escape military duty.” He further added, “It’s the duty of each one of us to serve and protect our country. If we don’t, who will?”

When asked how he felt when he became an AEF scholarship recipient, Hamlet’s face lit up and he said, “I was so happy to have the opportunity to continue my education to improve my life as well as that of my people.” Adding, “AEF is an exceptional organization with high standards in education, citizenship and volunteerism. I know of no other organization in Armenia which offers so much to young people, I feel extremely fortunate to be part of AEF, they are my home and family.”

Khenkoyan with elderly man in the Grigor Lusavorich hospital in Armenia

Khenkoyan with elderly man in the Grigor Lusavorich hospital in Armenia

In addition to pursuing his education and serving in the army, Hamlet strives to give back and help others. He shared a heartwarming story with me about an elderly man from whom he bought a lemon everyday, on his way to school. After several months, Hamlet asked the elderly man if he recognized him. The elderly man looked at Hamlet with squinting eyes and said, “but my son, I cannot see you to recognize you. I am blind.”

Hamlet was heartbroken that an elderly blind man who could be his own Papik had to sell lemons to survive. He immediately thought of doing something to help him. He went to the hospital, located Papik’s health records, and through updating them, discovered that Papik was eligible for public assistance. “But now there was the question of money for his medications,” said Hamlet. He decided to raise money to buy the medications Papik would need after his eye surgery.”  I was so happy when Papik’s eyesight was restored and he had the medications he needed.”

“Everyone in the hospital was touched by the way Hamlet cared and went out of his way to help Papik who at first everyone thought was his grandfather,” said Doctor Lilit Jahangiryan, who assisted in Papik’s eye operation in Grigor Lusavorich hospital.

During my interview, I realized that I was speaking to a young man with effective leadership skills, someone who is deeply rooted in his community at all levels, and is aware of the social challenges facing it.

At his university, Hamlet decided to found a students’ association, of which he is the president, to examine and tackle social issues. Since its creation, the students have visited needy children and convalescent homes, bringing with them toys, gifts and food. “I take special pleasure in dressing up like Santa Claus because I love making children happy and seeing their smiling faces,” said Hamlet with warmth and compassion.

Last Christmas, during one of the visits, Hamlet found out that one of the children, Anna, was suffering from Leukemia and was in need of a blood transfusion. He immediately volunteered to donate his blood    and as a result, Anna is now in remission and doing well.

Since then, Hamlet has given blood every three months in order to help save more lives.

When I asked him about the effects of donating blood so often on his health, he said “these children are in much worse health conditions than I am, I’ll be alright.”

I concluded my interview by telling Hamlet that AEF is extremely proud to sponsor an amazing student and human being such as him. I encouraged him to continue on his path and to rally other young people to follow his example. I commended him for his care and compassion, his enthusiasm, his volunteerism and service to the homeland.

For more information or to make a donation, please contact the AEF office at (818) 242-4154 or email aef@aefweb.org.

GLENDALE—Armenian Educational Foundation’s (AEF) reach and impact is far and wide. For decades, AEF has provided financial assistance through scholarships to Armenian students both in the United States and in Armenia, helping them to attain their educational goals. Moreover, the effect of this assistance extends far beyond financial support; it also empowers the scholarship recipients to become contributing, caring and valuable members of their community.

I interviewed a second-year scholarship recipient, Hamlet Khenkoyan, a determined, ambitious and civic-minded young man, wise beyond his years. I hope this interview will capture the spirit and the exceptional attributes of this young man. Hamlet’s sponsors are John and Gayane Pridjian of La Cañada, California who also sponsor four additional students.

Hamlet was born in 1994 in Metzamor, in the Armavir region of Armenia. In 1999, his family moved to Russia where he attended school for two years. Upon his parent’s divorce, Hamlet returned to Armenia with his sister, but when his sister decided to move to Russia permanently, Hamlet refused to go. “I did not like Russia, I wanted to stay in Armenia and serve my people and my country,” he said with confidence. Left alone, Hamlet decided to pursue his education and after graduating from high school he was admitted to the Armenian State University of Economics in Yerevan, majoring in Marketing.

From 2012 to 2014, Hamlet served in the Army as a Sergeant, conducting reconnaissance missions among his many other duties. “I was very proud and honored to serve my country but was ashamed of young people who escape military duty.” He further added, “It’s the duty of each one of us to serve and protect our country. If we don’t, who will?”

When asked how he felt when he became an AEF scholarship recipient, Hamlet’s face lit up and he said, “I was so happy to have the opportunity to continue my education to improve my life as well as that of my people.” Adding, “AEF is an exceptional organization with high standards in education, citizenship and volunteerism. I know of no other organization in Armenia which offers so much to young people, I feel extremely fortunate to be part of AEF, they are my home and family.”

In addition to pursuing his education and serving in the army, Hamlet strives to give back and help others. He shared a heartwarming story with me about an elderly man from whom he bought a lemon everyday, on his way to school. After several months, Hamlet asked the elderly man if he recognized him. The elderly man looked at Hamlet with squinting eyes and said, “but my son, I cannot see you to recognize you. I am blind.”

Hamlet was heartbroken that an elderly blind man who could be his own Papik had to sell lemons to survive. He immediately thought of doing something to help him. He went to the hospital, located Papik’s health records, and through updating them, discovered that Papik was eligible for public assistance. “But now there was the question of money for his medications,” said Hamlet. He decided to raise money to buy the medications Papik would need after his eye surgery.”  I was so happy when Papik’s eyesight was restored and he had the medications he needed.”

“Everyone in the hospital was touched by the way Hamlet cared and went out of his way to help Papik who at first everyone thought was his grandfather,” said Doctor Lilit Jahangiryan, who assisted in Papik’s eye operation in Grigor Lusavorich hospital.

During my interview, I realized that I was speaking to a young man with effective leadership skills, someone who is deeply rooted in his community at all levels, and is aware of the social challenges facing it.

At his university, Hamlet decided to found a students’ association, of which he is the president, to examine and tackle social issues. Since its creation, the students have visited needy children and convalescent homes, bringing with them toys, gifts and food. “I take special pleasure in dressing up like Santa Claus because I love making children happy and seeing their smiling faces,” said Hamlet with warmth and compassion.

Last Christmas, during one of the visits, Hamlet found out that one of the children, Anna, was suffering from Leukemia and was in need of a blood transfusion. He immediately volunteered to donate his blood    and as a result, Anna is now in remission and doing well.

Since then, Hamlet has given blood every three months in order to help save more lives.

When I asked him about the effects of donating blood so often on his health, he said “these children are in much worse health conditions than I am, I’ll be alright.”

I concluded my interview by telling Hamlet that AEF is extremely proud to sponsor an amazing student and human being such as him. I encouraged him to continue on his path and to rally other young people to follow his example. I commended him for his care and compassion, his enthusiasm, his volunteerism and service to the homeland.

For more information or to make a donation, please contact the AEF office at (818) 242-4154 or email aef@aefweb.org.

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