BY ANI SARKISSIAN
SANTA ANA—It was a night filled with pride in Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School’s role in serving the Orange County community for the past 30 years. It was a large gathering of guests which included parents, alumni, staff and faculty, as well as members of the founding family of the school, Mr. and Mrs. Steve and Seta Minassian. On the 30th anniversary of the school’s founding, guests gathered in the newly renovated Gugasian Hall, which the renovation committee has worked on tirelessly for the past year to make a reality.
After opening remarks by PTO Chair and Mistress of Ceremonies Jibit Cinar, who welcomed the guests and stressed the importance of keeping the doors of an Armenian school open, Rev. Fr. Karekin Bedourian led the invocation and presented Western Prelate Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian’s message to the attendees, “The seeds of Ari Guiragos Minassian School, under the auspices of Forty Martyrs Church, were planted three decades ago by visionaries who recognized the need and importance of providing this bastion of faith and education to the Orange County Armenian community. May God bless the labors of the founders who made that dream a reality, and may God bless the memory of those no longer with us. A resounding job well done to all those who, inspired by the example of the founders, work together with love, harmony, and utmost dedication to carry on the mission they began long ago, and a sincere thank you to the benefactors and sponsors for their generous support and encouragement. We take this opportunity to commend also Principal Kohar Zaher for her many years of faithful service and devotion to the education and instruction of our youth.”
A beautifully prepared slideshow was shown on various screens throughout the hall which showcased alumni and their achievements upon graduating AGM. The alumni remembered their days at AGM fondly, noting specifically the lasting influence the school has had on their lives. Three alumni, Alex Guldjian (class of 2014), Betty Markarian (class of 2010), and Hovsep Kabaklian (class of 1998), gave heartfelt speeches stressing how the quality of education they received at AGM has translated into great success at their current schools. They touched upon the unparalleled care and guidance the staff and faculty has showed them throughout their years as an AGM student.
Giving his last speech as School Board chair was Markar Karatas, who has worked tirelessly for years with the school board members to enhance the school, both academically and physically. He acknowledged the faculty, who has served as the backbone of the school. Praising the entire Minassian Family for their vision and continuous moral and financial support, he vowed that the memory of Guiragos Minassian and his grandson, Ari, would be eternal. Lastly, he thanked Principal Kohar Zaher, who is retiring after the current academic year, for her years of dedication, selfless work, and the quality of care she has provided for the students as if they were her own children. After accepting her award, Principal Zaher expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to lead a prestigious institution like AGM and the invaluable role it has played in her life. She also thanked all those who have helped AGM soar to new heights over the last 30 years, “What has been accomplished is due largely to our unified efforts. We have been blessed with a community that has supported the school in the past, and today, as we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Ari Guiragos Minassian Armenian School, we renew our commitment for an even brighter future for our beloved school.” She then proceeded with honoring the first principal of AGM, Lillie Merigian, and the important role she played during the early years. Thanking the entire faculty for all they do for the school, Principal Zaher acknowledged and awarded those teachers who have served the school for over ten years: Astrid Ashkarian, Talin Megerian, Talin Artinian, and Ani Geloian.
The guests enjoyed a delicious dinner catered by Medii Kitchen, followed by the 30th Anniversary cake cutting, after which they danced the night away celebrating this remarkable milestone in AGM’s history.