“Armenian is the language to speak with God,” Lord Byron.
On Saturday, September 10, on the serene and welcoming landscape of the new St. Nersess Seminary in Armonk, NY, fifty Armenian school teachers from area schools (eleven from Kirikian) gathered for their annual Armenian Teacher’s Symposium sponsored and directed by the Armenian Studies Program of the Diocese of the Armenian Church. Everyone received a warm welcome by Gilda Kupelian, Armenian Studies coordinator, Director of Diocesan Educational Council. The meeting was opened by a prayer led by Rev. Fr. Karekin Kasparian.
As expected, Ms. Kupelian stressed the importance of our language, highlighting the important role played by parents in encouraging their children, at a young age, to appreciate, love and learn their mother tongue. This is further enhanced by community, technological and organizational support. Gilda introduced “Let’s Speak Armenian,” a new book with illustrations enforcing words of daily usage with pictures for the lower grades. Following, she introduced the Blog unit of the Diocesan newsletter. In the weekly Diocesan newsletter, link to Armenian Studies and then Blog. This contains a treasure of current information about our Diocesan Armenian schools.
The speaker for the day was the very interesting and informative Dr. Herand Markarian, scientist, playwright, poet, and translator. He addressed the teachers regarding the challenges facing the Armenian Educator. The role of the Armenian school teacher is to prepare, mold, and create ‘better’ Armenians, defined by Armenian knowledge, speaking, reading and writing the language, literature, history and church history. History and language go hand in hand in educating our youth. They must instill pride, awareness and involvement in Armenianism and our national identity in their students. Dr. Markarian stressed the importance of understanding episodes – events – in our history and using them as role makers and markers in the Armenian story.
Dr. Markarian stressed that the invention of the Armenian language by St. Mesrob Mashtotz is the highlight and prime event in our history, encompassing the Armenian language, political status of Armenia and the declaration of Christianity. In a video regarding Our Legacy; Armenians 100 years after Genocide, we are urged us to maintain our grandparent’s legacy. Lunch and a tour of the new facility followed. Ms. Kupelian opened the afternoon session with The Role of the Armenian Principal – responsibilities – planning academic improvement; addressing different needs of the various degrees and competency of each student; addressing, nurturing and supporting teaching staff; communicating with parents; and understanding nature and causes of problems.
Several teachers, including our own Lucine Chamessian, attended the Pan-Armenian Convention in Aghveran, Armenia and spoke of the interaction of all who attended. Gilda asked for input from area Armenian schools, and Nazik Sesetyan spoke on behalf of Kirikian. The day was enlightening and informative, especially in its tranquil surroundings. Many thanks are owed to Marie Zokian and Mary Ann Saraydarian for providing transportation for our Kirikian School teachers.