GLENDALE—After nearly two years of construction, Sunday, May 18 marked the ribbon cutting and opening ceremony for Chamlian Armenian School’s Hacop & Hilda Baghdassarian Gymnasium.
More than 300 guests were in attendance at this historic event, which was organized by the school’s Gymnasium Fundraising Committee and the Parent Support Committee. Among the guests who were present were Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate of the Western Prelacy, Board of Regents representative, Maggie Sarkouni, Glendale City Councilmen, Ara Najarian and Dave Weaver, Crescenta Valley Town Council member, Harry Leon, major benefactors of the gym, Mr. and Mrs. Hacop and Hilda Baghdassarian and their extended family, major gym donor, Jessica Vartoughian and her extended family, ARS Glendale Sipan and Western Regional representatives, Homenetmen Regional, Ararat and Shant chapter representatives, and ARF Central Committee and Aharonian, Zavarian and Aghpalian Gomideh representatives.
The ceremony began with opening remarks by the Gymnasium Fundraising Committee’s Chairperson and Co-Chair of the Opening Ceremony Committee, Raffi Kendirjian, who stated that “Chamlian’s once open-air, asphalt court has been transformed into a state-of-the-art gymnasium with a sleek hardwood basketball court and a modern and green structure”.
Following his remarks, Principal Vazken Madenlian invited Chamlian Board Member Armen Abrahamian, and Chamlian Board Member and Gymnasium Construction Committee Chairman Arto Kazarians, to join him in recognizing PSC Chairperson Nadia Shamsi, as well as the Construction Committee members Sako Ourfalian, Anoush Mangassarian, Vahe Mazmanian, Greg Aghamanoukian, Harout Kassabian and Arto Kazarians, with special plaques acknowledging their contributions to the gymnasium construction efforts. In his remarks, Mr. Kazarian was quick to note that this was “a journey that we all took together and it took us four years.” He added that it was a team effort and he was thankful to all the team players.
Prelate Mardirossian was then invited by Madenlian to deliver his remarks and to offer his blessings. Archbishop Mardirossian praised the dedication and generosity of the gymnasium’s donor community, especially that of Mr. and Mrs. Hacop Baghdassarian and that of Jessica Vartoughian.
The highlight of the event was when Mr. and Mrs. Baghdassarian, accompanied by their sons, Gevik and Peter and their families, cut the ribbon and officially marked the opening of the gymnasium. Soon after, Jessica Vartoughian and her daughter, Nadia Shamsi, also unveiled a special plaque in the entry lounge, which was blessed by Archbishop Mardirossian and dedicated to the Vartoughian family.
Following the ribbon cutting ceremony, the large crowd of guests entered the gymnasium to the music of a traditional Armenian Dhol-Zourna group. They were greeted by Chamlian’s 8th grade students who were waiting with great anticipation to play a game of basketball in the new gymnasium for the first time.
Throughout the day, guests also enjoyed ice cream served from ice cream trucks, generously sponsored by the Baghdassarian brothers, along with a variety of refreshments and pastries prepared by the event’s organizing committee.
The Gymnasium Opening Ceremony was an especially significant event as it marked a very important milestone in the school’s history. This would not have been possible without the tireless efforts of countless individuals. Chamlian Armenian School would like to thank the Gymnasium Construction Committee members, the Gymnasium Fundraising Committee members, the Opening Ceremony Committee members and Chamlian’s Parent Support Committee for their hard work, their vision and perseverance in securing a gymnasium for Chamlian Armenian School. The school is also grateful to the many parent volunteers and community members who have stood steadfast throughout the years in support of Chamlian Armenian School and all its efforts.