The basic tenet of an Armenian school is to provide an atmosphere conducive to Armenian cultural values and high quality education. In recent years, Armenian schools have added a further attribute ‘s a safe and secure environment to their students. This newly acquired functional trait makes the Armenian schools even more attractive to our community.
Almost every day, we hear about dreadful murders, rape, incidents of drive-by shootings, gang-related cruel acts, and other atrocities. This sad reality culminated by drug use and alcohol abuse will no doubt lead to the decline of the moral values of the upcoming generations, if we do not face this reality and act upon it every day. I believe that Armenian schools are among the strongholds in our community, where this uphill battle can be fought successfully.
Unfortunately, only within highly populated Armenian communities, where there are Armenian learning institutions, Armenian parents are given the option to send their kids to private Armenian schools and reap the benefits. Further still, only eight to nine percent of Armenian children of these communities attend Armenian schools with the rest attending private or public schools.
If Armenian parents of the smaller Armenian communities are restricted in their choice to send their kids to Armenian schools, then it is beyond comprehension that in Los Angeles, a highly populated Armenian community with widely available resources, would Armenian parents choose not to send their children to Armenian schools. Most of us assume that the financial aspect is a major obstacle; however, almost all Armenian schools provide some form of financial assistance to accommodate middle class income families, hence minimizing the overall financial burden.
One has to reason that a school environment that provides high quality education, instills Armenian traditional and cultural values in its students, offers a safe and secure surrounding, and provides affordable tuition should be sufficient for the Armenian Communities to witness a substantial increase in the number of private schools. On the contrary, not even one school has been added to our network of schools in the last decade.
Unfortunately, the expenses associated with the many lavish weekends in Las Vegas and other resorts, the high-tech luxurious automobiles, the property taxes of “mansionized” homes, etc. seem to outweigh the value of paying the so-called high tuition of Armenian schools. I strongly believe that if this community has to survive, then the Armenian parents at large must reconsider their priorities and set their values and ideals accordingly.
Within this context, wholeheartedly I value and respect those parents who despite all difficulties have taken the cognizant decision to send their children to Armenian schools. Moreover, I especially admire our parents at Ferrahian for all the sacrifices they make and for the care they provide to their children, the future pillars of our community.