BEVERLY HILLS– Over 500 community members gathered at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on June 18–for the 40th anniversary banquet of Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary & Ferrahian High School–and raised upwards of $400,000.
The school’s finance committee organizes the banquet each year to raise funds for tuition scholarships. In celebration of Ferrahian’s 40th anniversary milestone–the finance committee along with the administration organized several events honoring those who served the school throughout the years. Friday’s banquet marked the culmination of celebrations; graduates from each decade were honored along with administrators and board members who not only provided years of service–but were integral in the school’s development and continued success.
His Eminence Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian presided over the evening’s ceremonies. Dignitaries including the Consul General of the Republic of Armenia Gagik Giragossian–ARF Central Committee Chairman Hovig Saliba–representatives from the offices of Sheriff Lee Baca–the Department of Homeland Security–Congressman Brad Sherman–State Assemblywoman Carol Liu–Board of Regents and Holy Martyrs Board of Trustees–as well as Homenetmen–Armenian Relief Society and the Armenian Education Foundation Central Executive representatives.
In honor of the school’s 40th anniversary–Dick Cheney and the Secretary of the US Department of Education Rod Paige forwarded congratulatory letters. Cheney noted–"The faculty and staff of the Holy Martyrs Armenian Elementary and Ferrahian High School can be proud of the important role they play in the lives of the Armenian community in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley–and their efforts to provide our nation’s children with the education and inspiration they need to pursue their dreams and lead responsible and productive lives."
Special commendation certificates were received from Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn–Councilman Jack Weiss–and Los Angeles County Supervisors Michael Antonovich–Zev Yaroslavsky–Don Knabe–Gloria Molina–and Yvonne B. Burke.
The formal program began with a greeting from the school’s finance committee–delivered by 1993 graduate Ara Bedrosian–who spoke of the school’s accomplishmen’s and its central role in instilling cultural values and educating a new generation of Armenian American leaders. "When we hear the name Ferrahian–we think of academic excellence," said Bedrosian. "We think of cultural pride–tradition–progress and enlightenment. Ferrahian is the oldest Armenian daily school in the United States and today its alumni are lawyers–judges–physicians–engineers–builders of nations–and the pride of their communities."
The evening’s master-of-ceremonies Charly Ghailian–an ardent supporter of the school and a parent of several Ferrahian graduates–invited finance committee chairman Arto Atmadjian–who spoke about Mateos Ferrahian and the hard work and dedication of the school’s first principal Gabriel Injejikian. He outlined the accomplishmen’s of the school and spoke about the bright future ahead.
Aida Baghdoian–who has served as the school’s accountant/treasurer for nearly 20 years–was the recipient of the finance committee’s traditional recognition award to an administration or faculty member.
Alumni from each decade were also honored for academic and professional accomplishmen’s. Honorees included Carnig Sarkissian from the 1960s–Judge Greg Keossian from the 1970s–Dr. Joe Ouzounian from the 1980s–Apik Minassian–Esq. from the 1990s–and Stephanie Sarkissian from the 2000s.
As Holy Martyrs Ferrahian School’s Distinguished Graduate of the Year–Dr. Garo Kassabian was honored for his success as a prominent plastic surgeon in the greater Los Angeles area–and for his support of the school–and various community organizations.
The committee also honored Hacob Shirvanian and Kevork Atmadjian who served the school as Board Members and were active in its development.
Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Principal John Kossakian and Chairman of the Board of Regents Yeznig Kazanjian extended commendations to teachers and administrators for their service and support to the community’s oldest Armenian day school. They stressed the importance of Ferrahian’s mission of enhancing cultural wealth and administering a quality education.
A special video presentation outlined the vision of Mateos Ferrahian–the work of Gabriel Injejikian–and the fairy-tale like story of the foundation of a school which has become a cultural icon for Armenia’s around the world.
His Eminence Archbishop Mardirossian closed the official program with a moving address recognizing the passing of one of Ferrahian’s most cherished faculty members Eugenie Bedrossian–and encouraging all to extend both spiritual and financial support for its future endeavors.