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A packaged deal that adds up

March 22, 2011
(Raul Roa/Staff…)

When twin sisters Ani and Armineh Mikaelian were hired at Clark Magnet High School four years ago as math-teaching pair, colleagues had such a hard time distinguishing them, the two teachers were referred to by their classroom locations.

“The biggest difficulty for the office staff is both first names start with an ‘a’ — Ani and Armineh,” said Barbara Melone, secretary to Clark Magnet Principal Doug Dall. “Bless the principal, he had one in this building and one in the other building. This was inside Mikaelian and [that was] outside Mikaelian.”

The idea was to create a little bit of separation between the pair, who had been hired simultaneously, Dall said.

“It didn’t work,” he noted.

Four years later, the sisters are teaching in the same building in the same hallway, just two doors apart from each other. For Ani and Armineh — both of them products of Glendale Unified schools — it is an ideal arrangement that allows them to fulfill their dream of educating within their own communities, supporting and inspiring each other.

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“It is just wonderful,” Ani said. “It is just a different, exciting experience to teach and be able to educate. Nowadays, education is really important for these students and we really need to give them as much as we can.”

Inseparable

Born in Rhode Island and raised in Southern California, Ani and Armineh have done almost everything together. They were standout student athletes at Glendale High School, taking many of the same classes and competing in doubles tennis.

“Somehow we just knew what to tell each other,” Ani said. “We became most-valuable players together.”

While still in high school, both women gravitated toward mathematics, and Armineh started tutoring classmates.

“They would understand it, and from then on, I knew I wanted to be a math teacher,” Armineh said. “I loved calculus in high school, so my dream one day was to be a calculus teacher, or a higher-level math teacher, because I wanted to make it enjoyable for my students and to make it clearer and understandable for them.”

As their high school graduation approached in 2006, the twins knew they wanted to attend the same university, but were realistic about the competition at the top schools. Ani received her acceptance letter to ULCA first. There were a few stressful days of waiting, and then Armineh learned that she would also be a Bruin.

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