MARSEILLES–France (Gamk)–The French-Armenian community in this French port city came out in droves on May 29–when the first brick for the soon-to-be constructed school–operated by the Hamazkayin–was laid during a special ceremony which attracted several French political officials.
Hundreds of community members–guests–school officials and students crowded under a big tent–where they greeted Marseilles mayor Jean-Claude Godin–who along with Lebanese Ambassador to France Toni Brete was among the countless officials present at the ceremony.
The opening ceremonies were commenced by the school board chairman Sarhad Kilindjian.
"The laying of this symbolic first brick of the Hamazkayin school–is a result of that belief and commitment demonstrated by you–the parents–who–from the first day–have entrusted your children to the Hamazkayin," stated Kilindjian.
The board chairman outlined Hamazkayin’s mission of education and cultural preservation–specifically thanking mayor Godin for his relentless efforts on behalf of the French-Armenian community. He also expressed gratitude to the mayor on behalf of the Hamazkayin and its central executive.
In his remarks–Godin thanked the French parliament–which earlier that day had passed a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide.
Godin also ensured the parents that he and the French education ministry would continue their commitment toward enhancing private schools–especially stressing the importance of the Hamazkayin school and the role it played in the French reality.
"We must work so that these children can attend their new school not in the year 2001 by much earlier than that," pledged Godin.
Kilindjian also recognized the help of Renault Musellier–Roland Bloom–Gilbert Kerkerian and Pierre Chevallier–who had assisted city hall in realizing the school project.
In conclusion–Bishop Daron Djeredjian addressed his parishioners by pointing to three momentous events which had brought the community together: the 80th anniversary of Armenian independence–the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the French parliament and the stone-laying ceremony for the Hamazkayin school.
Following the speeches the official ceremony was held–which included the blessing of the site with holy water–after which–students who had written their thoughts regarding the school–placed those paper in the holes–which were late covered with cement and the first brick was set in place by Mayor Godin.
The community’s enthusiasm was evident throughout the ceremony and young and old converged on this site for educating future generations of Armenia’s.