Children ran around the playground before the ceremony and recited Armenian and American pledges of allegiance to begin the anniversary program. Eighth-graders held the hands of first-graders as they joined the other students, a symbolic gesture to illustrate the continuity of Armenian generations. The longevity of the culture, elements of which organizers said date back to 3,000 B.C., is a central draw for perspective parents.
“The first day of school is usually a big day, but this is very special,” said Nadia Shamsi, whose daughter is in third grade. “I don’t think anyone expected this [milestone] in Glendale or in the Armenian community, but we’re so proud of being here and being parents here.”
School officials also presented Glendale firefighters with a $1,000 donation to the memorial fund for the families of two Los Angeles County firefighters who died battling the Station fire.
Capt. Vincent Rifino took an impromptu poll, and asked students what they thought was the hardest profession. Hands shot up, and Rifino told students that teaching was the most difficult.
“We would not be up here doing what we do were it not for our teachers and our first teachers — our parents,” he said.
The first-through-eighth grade campus, like its sister schools and kindergarten campus in South Glendale, is governed by the Western Prelacy of the Armenian Apostolic Church, and fully accredited by the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges. The main campus on Lowell Avenue had its accreditation renewed last year.
Many students are born in the U.S., but the school has been an alma mater for many immigrants from Armenia and diaspora countries like Lebanon, Iran and more recently, Iraq, Chamlian Principal Vazken Madenlian said.