Edited by Alin Manukyan
The Kirikian Armenian School of St. Thomas honored the Martyrs of the Armenian Genocide on April 23, 2016. A full program was prepared by Principal Ani Capan, in conjunction with Fr. Papken and all of the dedicated Kirikian Armenian School staff. Students, teachers, and parents gathered in Saddler Hall where a magnificent model of Dzidzernagapert stood at one end of the stage, and a portrait of the Martyred Saints of the Armenian Genocide, uplit by candles and with a backdrop of the forget-me-not flower, was displayed at the opposite end of the stage.
This special model of Dzidzernagapert had been initially designed and built by the dearly departed Joseph Zokian, who will always be remembered by members of St. Thomas Church. The model has since been expanded, based on the original foundation, by Jacklyn Baltaian’s father. The glowing eternal flame feature was designed by Marie Zokian, who also donated the flowers that were placed at the memorial model. The adjoining tower was built by Mariam Sargsyan’s father. The scenery for the day’s events was organized by Jacklyn Baltaian. The St. Thomas family is grateful to all of these helping hands in creating this memorial for those precious lives lost in the 1915 Armenian Genocide.
The day began with Fr. Papken’s prayer for the martyred saints of the Armenian Genocide, after which students Maral Sarafian and Olivia Arslanian read a poem. The speaker of the day was Mrs. Maro Hajakian, who made strong and uplifting points in her message. The Turks wanted to annihilate the Armenians but did not succeed. We are living, and will continue to thrive for many years to come. Armenians have contributed to the world with famous inventors, chess masters, astronomers, composers, scientists and more. She said, “Noise in this school does not upset me, but the silence would scare me one day. Don’t forget who you are, live as an Armenian, and don’t forget our cause.”
This day of remembrance was dedicated to Gomidas Vartabed. The students watched a video about his life and also about the monument which has been dedicated to Gomidas, erected in Detroit, Michigan. Following this informative video, the 7th grade students of the Kirikian Armenian School continued in their weekly year-end presentations. The four subjects on which students presented were about: the Armenian Genocide, the Armenian alphabet, famous Armenian inventors, and respected Armenian poet, Hovhannes Shiraz. We thank the seventh Grade teachers, Mrs. Sirvart Demirjian and Miss Helen Minassian, for assisting the students with their projects. After the presentations, the students went in groups with their teachers toward the Dzidzernagapert model. Each student payed his/her respects to those who perished in the Genocide, placed a flower at the base, and approached the portrait of the Martyred Saints of the Armenian Genocide to ask for their intercession to God in their prayers.
It was also the first year that the annual planting of the flowers at the St. Thomas “Children’s Garden for 1915” was not preceded by a requiem service because all of the martyrs were canonized at the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide last year. Instead, students offered their prayers to the Saints of the Armenian Genocide. Mr. and Mrs. Ara and Karen Arslanian donated all of the flowering plants for the students to plant in the garden, as they do every year. All of the students of the Armenian school participated, each by planting a flower in memory and honor of the souls of our Martyred Saints. Principal Capan stated that “we believe that children will have lifetime memories of this activity at Kirikian Armenian School for many years to come.”
We invite you to view all the pictures from this day in our photo gallery.