Glendale Unified School District Students Plan Genocide Assembly

By Vince Lovato

GLENDALE (News-Press)–Anna Harutyunyan grew up in Armenia and she has seen the poverty of rural villages there.

That’s why the Glendale High School senior is so dedicated to her role as president of her school’s Armenian Club–and to a vision of remembering her homeland’s history.

Harutyunyan–18–will represent Glendale when the leaders of the student Armenian Clubs from Clark Magnet–Crescenta Valley–Glendale–and Hoover high schools meet at the Glendale Unified School District administration building at 223. N. Jackson St. to plan the Fifth Annual Armenian Genocide Remembrance Assembly–scheduled for April 21 at the Glendale High School Auditorium.

As she looks forward to the assembly–Harutyunyan doesn’t stray far from memories of her native land.

"I visited some villages and I’ve seen the conditions," said Harutyunyan–18–who was born and lived in Armenia until she was 14. "They don’t have enough funds to pay for repairing classrooms or to buy equipment and books."

Such awareness was admired by school board member Greg Krikorian–who serves as an unofficial liaison to the student assembly planners.

"The main focus is the vision and passion of our youth and how they see the Genocide and commemorating it…" Krikorian said. "It’s not just about education and seeking truth and justice but reflecting and growing from what happened and moving forward in the proper way. Parents are encouraged to attend and support our youth. This is a great opportunity to bring your family and commemorate the Armenian genocide with a night filled with dances–poetry–and music all performed by students."

Students have plans for the assembly that are already in the works.

Each school will make a presentation at the assembly–ranging from poetry readings to video clips and folk songs. The clubs invited special guest participants to perform–Krikorian said.

Ateena Pirverdian–an 18-year-old senior and Armenian Club president at Crescenta Valley–said each school has 10 minutes to make a presentation about Armenian heritage or the Genocide in which 1.5 million Armenia’s were killed by Ottoman Turks beginning in 1915. Crescenta Valley will show a 10-minute video at the assembly.

"I think it’s important to participate in the Armenian community," Pirverdian said. "Being the leader of this club–I can give as much as I can so I can help [club members] actively participate. I have grown up in this community and I want to give back."

The students’ focus on remembering Armenian heritage is an ongoing concern.

Each of the campuses has about 100 members in their respective Armenian Clubs who are active in philanthropic activities–Krikorian said.

One of the ongoing programs is to aid Glendale’s sister city–Ghapan–by raising money for furniture and remodeling three schools there–Harutyunyan said.

"We’re helping this sister city and I’m really glad to be helping them–so that makes me even more motivated," said Harutyunyan–whose grandfather was killed in the genocide. "It’s a great opportunity for them and for us."

WHAT: Fifth Annual Armenian Genocide Remembrance Assembly

WHEN: Doors open 6:30 PM April 21–2006

WHERE: Glendale High School Auditorium–1440 Broadway.

ADMISSION: Free

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