Armenian Revolutionary Federation Supreme Council of Armenia Chairman Ishkhan Saghatelyan, as part of his working trip to the Western United States, visited the Armenian American community of Montebello on February 6.
He was accompanied by ARF Western US Central Committee members Garo R. Madenlian, Levon Kirakosian, Aida Dimejian, Stepan Boyadjian, along with Montebello ARF Dro chapter Chairman Viken Pakradouni and fellow executive members Koko Artinian and Gev Iskajyan, Montebello ANCA member Ashod Mooradian, and City Councilmember Jack Hadjinian.
Saghatelyan’s first stop was the Armenian Mesrobian School where he was greeted by principal David Ghoogasian who guided a tour of the campus and detailed the crucial role the school has played in the Montebello community for more than five decades.
Joining the delegation were representatives of the Armenian Relief Society’s local Nayri chapter, as well as faculty and staff members.
Saghatelyan then met with students of all ages in different classrooms including the music class where students sang patriotic Armenian songs to commemorate his inaugural visit. He had a discussion with high School students and provided a brief update regarding the political climate in Armenia, answered many questions posed by the students including an explanation of some of the ARF’s activities, and encouraged all to remain involved in their respective Diasporan communities and to continue helping the homeland.
From Mesrobian, the group headed to Evergreen Cemetery where they paid respects to Armenian national hero Misak Torlakian in the Armenian section of the cemetery. Saghatelyan and his entourage laid wreaths at the gravesite with members of the Holy Cross Armenian Cathedral clergy offered prayers.
The next stop was the Armenian Genocide Martyrs Monument at Montebello’s Bicknell Park. After ceremonial prayers and laying of wreaths, ARF Western U.S. Central Committee member Levon Kirakosian presented a brief history about the ARF’s decision to establish the Monument and the efforts to rally the community despite Turkey’s official efforts to stop the process.
Sghatelyan along with Central Committee and Local ARF members visited Holy Cross Armenian Cathedral for a brief informal meeting with local clergy and church board members. They discussed the formation of the community and the vital role the local ARF has played in establishing and advancing the community organizations and institutions.
In the evening many ARF members joined the Chairman at the Montebello Armenian Center for dinner hosted by ARF Dro Gomideh and organized by the ARF Central Committee during which discussions continued about the community, policies in Armenia, and the future projects.
Sghatelyan was impressed by the amount of work undertaken over the years by the ARF and the Armenian American community in the greater Montebello area to preserve the Armenian culture and identity, establish an Armenian school, expand and maintain the church, establish and develop community organizations, youth groups, all working together to advance the Armenian Cause.