HOLLYWOOD–Under the auspices of His Grace Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–the official ribbon cutting ceremony and opening of the Rose and Alex Pilibos School’s newly constructed gymnasium and library complex took place on Sunday–January 19 at 1:30 PM in Hollywood.
Present at the ceremonies were Prelate of the Armenian Apostolic Church of America–Western Region Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian–Spiritual leader of Hollywood’s St. Garabed Church Rev. Vicken Vassilian–Armenian Revolutionary Federation-Western USA Central Committee representative Hovig Saliba–as well as members of the Central Committee–Chairman of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Ken Hachikian–Executive Director of the ANCA Aram Hamparian–Representative of ANCA-West Raffi Hamparian– State Assemblymember Steve Samuelian–Chairman of the Prelacy Executive Council Avo Donoyan–Principal of Rose and Alex Pilibos School Viken Yacoubian–and representatives and members of sister organizations.
With the participation a large gathering outside of the gymnasium and library–the ceremony opened with the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and singing of "Ourakh Ler." In a silence that fell the crowd–Bishop Mardirossian cut the ribbon opening the entrance to the state of the art gymnasium where attendees took their seats. After the Homenetmen’scouts conducted the ceremony of flags–the crowd stood for the national anthems of the US and Armenia–and the Rose and Alex Pilibos anthem.
In his opening remarks–Master of Ceremonies Karo Khanjian noted that what has been a dream and concept for many years–has now become a reality thanks to endless and vigilant efforts; he stressed that the new library and gymnasium complex were built not only to serve the student of Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School–but to also serve the entire Hollywood Armenian community.
During this historical event–newly elected State Assemblymember Steve Samuelian presented a heartfelt congratulatory message to the school–and presented on behalf of his colleague Dario Frommer–a certificate to Principal Yacoubian. From colleague Eric Garcetti–Samuelian read a message congratulating the school.
Architects Robert Mangurian & Mary Ann Ray were then invited to speak about making the project a reality and their experiences.
Chairman of the Rose and Alex Pilibos Finance Committee Sako Berberian–presented a brief account of the financial requiremen’s to build the complex. "These magnificent structures are the result of the efforts and devotion of hundreds of people." He went on to thank efforts directly symbolized within the buildings: those of advisors Michelle Sarkissian and Vahan Rusdigian–architects Mangurian and Ray–and the assistance of the Lincy Foundation–the Carolann Family–Mr. and Mrs. Noubar Chorbajian–Mr. and Mrs. Apo Tashdjian–Mr. and Mrs. Vahe Garabedian and all those–who throughout the years–participated in fundraising efforts to construct the complex. "This costly project–with a budget of $2.5 million and which has spanned three years–has concluded; at this moment–however–we do not have the feeling of someone who has just won the battle," clarified Berberian as he spoke of an outstanding balance of $1.4 million that was taken out as a loan to complete the project." He explained that continued financial assistance is necessary to pay off the loan–and invited all to attend a March 28 fundraising event organized by the Financial Committee.
With his warm words–Principal Viken Yacoubian’s thanked parents and all those assembled whose input helped to realize the completion of the complex: "This undertaking is the result of extensive–persistent and committed work–and became a reality thanks to the support of parents and organizations who have permanently assembled around us. They are the support of our structures; if this school were a book–you are the authors."
Speaking of the library–Yacoubian revealed that it is constructed in the form of Noah’s Arc symbolizing efforts to keep students elevated and away negative influences. "At the same time–it symbolizes our status as refugees who–nevertheless–remain proud and become established and successful citizens of any given country."
Reflecting on the enormity of the completed project and all that it encompasses–Principal Yacoubian stated: "These structures are national ones–and if the ideals of dedication are not an integral part of our efforts–then they cease to be worthwhile. As a public structure–the complex symbolizes a collective effort–and is naturally a great reflection of our national persistence. Thus–such a realization is cause for national pride–and it will remain here during that journey of the Armenian nation toward a free–independent and united Armenia."
In his message–Prelate Mousegh Mardirossian said that he has received great spiritual satisfaction from witnessing–along with those assembled–the realization of such project. "My joy has multiplied today because the number of believers in such projects is multiplying; without hope such undertakings do not succeed." The Prelate concluded–"If the library is constructed to symbolize Noah’s Arc–then the Rose and Alex Pilibos School of the Western Prelacy–is Mount Ararat."