AEF Honors Jarakian Merigian as Educators of the Year

BY DAVID DERSARKISSIAN Asbarez Staff Writer

GLENDALE–They would’ve liked to have honored all the teachers and educators deserving of recognition–but that would’ve lasted months–and costed a small fortune.

And so the Armenian Educational Foundation did the next best thing–honor two of the more brighter stars in the educational sky–choosing Lillie Merigian and Vergine Jarakian as its 1997 Educators of the Year at a luncheon banquet at the Brandview Collection Sunday.

"I am so touched and very very please to be here–and to see so many people from my life here today," said Merigian. "I thank the AEF for this beautiful honor–and for this beautiful luncheon."

Merigian–who recently retired as principal of the Krouzian-Zakarian-Vasbouragan Armenian School in San Francisco–earned her bachelor of arts degree in English and Journalism at Wayne State University in Detroit–Mich. where she completed her post-graduate studies in Elementary Education.

With years of service to education–including stints as principal of Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School in Santa Ana and the Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School in Hollywood–Merigian has also served the Armenian National Committee–Armenian Assembly–Armenian Relief Society and the Armenian Youth Federation.

"There is no doubt in my mind that there are many of you who deserve to be where I am," Merigian said.

Jarakian–who is currently the Instructional Adviser in the Language Acquisition and Bilingual Development Branch of the Asian Pacific and Other Languages Office of the Los Angeles Unified School District–received her master of arts degree in educational administration from CSULA–and her bachelor of arts in Liberal Studies from CSUN.

Jarakian has also earned California Administrative and Multiple-Subject Teaching Credentials and a Bilingual Certificate of Competency in Armenian.

"I humbly accept this honor–but not on my own–but for all my colleagues who have devoted so much of their time to education," Jarakian said. "It is an honor to receive this award with Lillie. She is very deserving."

The AEF also honored We Care for Youth during Sunday’s luncheon–a project that has trained more than 4,000 youths in life and job skills since 1991 and was co-founded by Linda Maxwell and Jose. R. Quintanar to help stop the increasing violence between young people.

"Our mission is one of peace–peace between children," said Maxwell. "The AEF has done so much for education in its time–and it has been appreciated."

We Care for Youth currently operates Bliss Unlimited–a store in the Glendale Galleria of youth-made and inspired gift items run by youth–most of whom are of Armenian descent.

The organization continues to teach in schools on a regular basis–training children for tomorrow.

In tune with the afternoon’s important message of education of youth–it was a group of youth that highlighted the luncheon–as the International School of Music string ensemble performed a series of pieces under the direction of Sarkis Bukujian–including several solos by one member barely bigger than the violin itself.

Introducing the two honorees were Gabriel Injejikian and Onnik Keshishian–respectfully–both veterans of education and past Armenian school principals as well.

Outgoing AEF president Shahen Nazaryan was awarded a special plaque for his services to the organization by newly-elected President Vahik Petrossian.

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