Some 60 participants representing 10 Diocesan Armenian Schools attended a daylong symposium at the Diocesan Center on September 9, 2017.
The symposium imparted expedient ways to learn the basics of the Armenian language, including practical conversation. Educators attended from the parishes of Holy Ascension, Trumbull, CT; Sts. Sahag and Mesrob, Providence, RI; St. Mary, Washington DC; St. Gregory the Enlightener, White Plains, NY; Holy Martyrs, Bayside, NY; St. Vartan Saturday School, NY; Khrimian Lyceum, NY; St. Leon, Fair Lawn, NJ; St. Thomas, Tenafly, NJ; and St. Mary, Livingston, NJ.
After a warm welcome, Diocesan Armenian Studies director Gilda Buchakjian Kupelian shared a survey conducted among Diocesan Armenian schools that prioritized aspects of the language to teach in single-day schools, implemented best practices, achievements, community support, and use of technology.
Several challenges were addressed during the symposium. In light of the limitations in Armenian schools, the director shared slide presentations on practical methods for learning basic Armenian vocabulary in our faith tradition and a conversational resource for the adult learner that can be adapted to benefit younger audiences.
Guest speaker Mardig Tcholakian, a Computer Science graduate of Haigazian University in Beirut, spoke about digitizing literary resources. His presentation was based on research done in the publishing and educational fields, as well as consumer statistics. The inquiry surveyed Armenian literature, literature translated to Armenian, and how to make it accessible and available via audio books.
The director of the Zohrab Information Center, Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, hosted the participants in two groups to tour the premises, and spoke about what the Center offers, its digitized resources, and the extensive collection housed at the library.
Maestro Khoren Mekanejian taught the teachers creative ways to teach songs. He presented basic principles and taught participants songs of different genres.
The Rev. Fr. Diran Bohajian, pastor of St. Leon Church, opened and closed the symposium with prayer. Diocesan Vicar the Very Rev. Fr. Simeon Odabashian presented educators from various parishes with letters of recognition and gifts on behalf of Diocesan Primate Archbishop Khajag Barsamian.
During a congenial session, the following were honored for their years of service in parish Armenian studies programs: Anahid Boghosian; Sirvart Arakelian; Lucia Vorperian; Hourig Broukian; Carol Nemetz, (for 25 years of service); Xenia Alexandrian and Hasmik Manoukian (for 10 years).
Svetlana Hovhanisyan from the Washington parish expressed appreciation for the organization of the event, and the fact that she had the opportunity to “meet all the teachers from so many Armenian schools.”
Veteran educator Sirvart Demirjian said: “The methods for learning Armenian language prepared and introduced by Gilda werte very useful. The ideas presented by our teachers were very inspiring. The subjects we covered were interesting, varied, and relevant to concerns in our local schools.”
St. Thomas Church’s Kirikian School principal Ani Capan said: “We always benefit from these Diocesan symposia since they cover important subjects and support our local schools in every way. This year’s presentation covered helpful areas in teaching Armenian conversation; we would benefit from additional methods we can use with adults, so that we can expand our classes further into this area.”