Educators representing nine Diocesan Armenian schools attended the annual “Armenian Teachers Symposium,” on Saturday, September 8, at the Diocesan Center in New York.
The gathering organized by the Diocesan Armenian Studies department focused on the urgent need to teach Armenian in the diaspora, and presentations offered accelerated methods to learn the language.
Dr. Hilda Kalfayan-Panossian, a veteran educator and curriculum specialist, presented her lecture via the Internet from France. She spoke about her method of teaching Armenian to non-speakers, and led a vigorous question period. The crash course developed by the French-Armenian educator was received enthusiastically by the teachers.
Diocesan Armenian Studies director Gilda Kupelian introduced two new reading resources for younger audiences, to accelerate phonological awareness and practical conversation. Ms. Kupelian expressed her hope that the Armenian community would rise to the occasion to uphold the Armenian language and transmit it to the future.
Dr. Chris Sheklian, the new director of the Diocese’s Krikor and Clara Zohrab Information Center, informed attendees about the Center and spoke about its vast library, newspaper archives, online catalog, and upcoming projects and initiatives.
A video presentation by Andre Berg, director of Development for the Fund for Armenian Relief (FAR), prefaced the educational and fundraising initiatives of FAR in Armenia. As a collaborative effort with the Diocesan Armenian Studies department, a project is in the works to engage Armenian school students to participate in FAR’s humanitarian work.
Honored for Service
Attending the symposium were teachers from St. Sarkis Church (Dallas, TX); Holy Ascension (Trumbull, CT); Holy Martyrs Language School (Bayside, NY); St. Gregory the Enlightener (White Plains, NY); St. Vartan Cathedral (New York, NY); St. Gregory Mission Parish (Brooklyn, NY); the Diocese’s Khrimian Lyceum (New York, NY); St. Thomas Kirikian School (Tenafly, NJ); and St. Leon (Fair Lawn, NJ).
Seven educators were honored for years of dedicated service to their Armenian schools: Elizabeth Khodabashm, Margrit Hamparsoumian, Maria Bedonian, Susan Clark, Lucine Chamessian, and Hilda Giritlian. Honored teacher Annie Ghannoum accepted the certificate on behalf of her sister Aida Kantzabedian.
The honorees received certificates signed by the Primate, the Very Rev. Fr. Daniel Findikyan, and gift books including Toward Light and Life: Reflections of Catholicos Karekin Hovsepian, co-edited by the Primate, as well as Diasporan Lives by Dr. Hrayr Jebejian.
After lunch the teachers sang Armenian traditional songs initiated by Maral Aznavour.
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(Photos by Taleen Kupelian)