PASADENA—Twenty years ago four little Armenian American children became the first graduates of Tavlian Armenian Pre-School and Kindergarten in Pasadena, California. For one of those students, Shant Dimijian, the memories of the school, even two decades later, are fresh reminders of a magical place that continues to deliver academic excellence to new generations of children.
“Looking back at my time at the Tavlian Armenian Preschool and Kindergarten in 1992, I can honestly say that this special school was the foundation of my Armenian identity,” shared Dimijian during a recent visit to his old school on Sinaloa Avenue. “This school was a catalyst for the rest of my life. I remember the school being distinctly Armenian. I also remember the meals prepared at the school, with great love, by my grandmother,” the 23 year old added with great pride.
Shant Abraham Dimijian was born in 1988 in Pasadena and was among the first students to graduate from Tavlian in the summer of 1993. A recent graduate from the California State University at Fullerton, he is confidently moving forward with plans to become a Certified Public Accountant.
During his recent visit to the Tavlian campus, Shant reflected on why he believes the school laid the foundation for his Armenian identity. “I remember that the teachers at the school were special,” he shared. “The teachers at Tavlian would care and nurture me, not because they had to, but because they treated me and my fellow students like we were their own. It was a feeling of family at Tavlian, a feeling of being at home, where the teachers loved the students and we, in turn, loved our teachers. That is how special this school was and why it remains, in my mind, so special today,” the school’s first graduate added.
Most probably because of his strong Armenian identity, begun at Tavlian, Shant Dimijian recently joined the Pasadena “Shahan Shahnour” Hamazkayin Chapter. He was drawn to the organization because of its role in nurturing and safeguarding the Armenian language, Armenian ethnic identity and the traditions and intellectual legacy of the Armenian people. The chapter has an active core of young Armenian Americans, like Shant, who have recently put together screenings, photo and art exhibits featuring up and coming Armenian artists from across the Diaspora.
As he reminisced last week about his special time at Tavlian, Shant shared a vivid memory of the school. “I remember with great clarity one distinct thing. Each time we would be let out for recess we would all basically run out to the playground. I remember the running and yelling the word “pahg” which means playground in Armenian. I remember this, but I also remember how happy I was, happy to be at Tavlian,” Dimijian concluded as he stepped off the campus and headed to work.
Among the many positive characteristics of the Tavlian Armenian Pre-School is the fact that it is the only kindergarten accredited by The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). For knowledgeable parents, the NAEYC Accreditation has become the mark of quality, helping parents find the best possible early childhood experience. Tavlian received its accreditation from NAEYC in 2009, has gone through the re-evaluation process this year and has granted this class-worthy recognition through June 31, 2014.
On May 4 a broad and diverse number of dedicated Armenian Americans will gather at a celebratory banquet to mark the 20th anniversary of the Tavlian Armenian Pre-School. The banquet will be held at Armenian Society of Los Angeles Additional information on the banquet may be secured by contacting the school office by phone at 626-398-8199.
Background on the Tavlian Armenian Pre-School, which has served our community with distinction for over two decades, may be found at the school’s user-friendly website: www.tavlianpreschool.org.
Photo caption: Shant Abraham Dimijian, part of the Tavlian Armenian Pre-School and Kindergarten’s first graduating class nearly two decades ago, reflected on the wonderful memories he has of the school during a visit to the campus last week.