The Armenian Educational Foundation’s Third Annual Oratorical Contest drew in over 120 supporters on February 2, at the Chevy Chase Country Club in Glendale. The newly remodeled hall was generously donated for the event by the country club owners, Nick Agakanian, Vatche Kouyoumdjian and Esteban Nazarian.
Representatives from all five local Armenian high schools attended and competed in the Armenian and English language speech competition. The participating schools included:
- A.G.B.U. Manoogian-Demirdjian High School
- Holy Martyrs Ferrahian High School
- Armenian Mesrobian High School
- Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian High School
- A.G.B.U. Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School
The topic for the Armenian segment related to the preservation of the Armenian language and the English competition topic addressed the Velvet Revolution and its affects in Armenia and globally. The judging criteria were based on the American Legion National Oratorical Contest guidelines.
The professional experience of the panel of judges encompassed a variety of backgrounds, including, education, politics, medicine, international relations and journalism. The distinguished judges were:
- Dr. Armen Baibourtian (Consul General of Armenia in Los Angeles)
- Dr. Richard Hovannisian (Former Holder AEF Chair in Modern Armenian History, UCLA)
- Dr. Shushan Karapetian (Professor Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, UCLA)
- Paul Krekorian (Los Angeles City Councilmember)
- Aida Rechdouni Jooharian, M.D., (AEF Board Member and Medical Director of Franklin Diagnostics Laboratories)
- Harut Sassounian (Publisher of the California Courier)
Alice Petrossian, with her vast experience in speech contests and a model orator, acted as Mistress of Ceremonies.
The winners of the 2019 AEF Oratorical contest were Narek Poghosyan (11th grade) from Rose & Alex Pilibos Armenian High School for the Armenian contest, Vahe Demirdjian (12th grade) representing A.G.B.U. Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School for the English language competition. Each winner was awarded with a $1,000 prize.
Dr. Shushan Karapetian remarked, “I was impressed with the professionalism in the conception, organization, and execution of the contest as well as the high quality of the participants’ content and performance. The sophistication and caliber of the students’ speeches left me inspired and hopeful about the next generation of our community’s leadership.”
AEF’s purpose in hosting the Oratorical contest is to promote public speaking in Armenian youth, with the hope of encouraging and shaping a future generation of leaders, motivators and influencers who can become a positive force and promote progress within their community.