MONTEBELLO, Calif.—Assemblymember Cristina Garcia of the 58th Assembly District announced Sona Fundukian as the 2017 Montebello “Woman of the Year.” Fundukian was one of nine honorees – and the only Armenian – representing the cities within the 58th District: Artesia, Bellflower, Bell Gardens, Cerritos, Commerce, Downey, Montebello, Norwalk, and Pico Rivera.
Sona Fundukian has been happily married for 55 years and is the proud parent of three children and two grandchildren. She is the current Chairperson of the Nairy Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society (ARS), a post she has held ten times since its establishment in 1968.
During her tenure, she helped establish the Nairy Chapter Saturday School which provides young Armenians the resources to learn their language, history and culture; the Nairy Scholarship which awards deserving Armenian graduating seniors in Montebello; and the Nairy Pre-School which offers children ages 2-4 a safe, nurturing, Armenian environment for their most formative years.
It is no wonder that much of Sona’s work has targeted education. Outside of her work for ARS, Sona enjoyed her career as a high school French teacher spanning just over 33 years. During that time, she earned many accolades including a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) allowing her to pursue additional study in Avignon, France.
“As part of Women’s History Month, it is such an honor to recognize these strong women, from my own backyard, who inspire, empower, and improve their neighbors’ lives and the communities they live in – they are the #Pride58,” Garcia said.
“Woman of the Year” nominations were open to all women who live, work, or attend school in the 58th Assembly District. Honorees were nominated by fellow community members and were celebrated at a district ceremony held on Friday, March 24.