St. Sarkis Church of Pasadena Hosts Annual Reception Honoring Armenian Graduates

On Wednesday, May 16, 2018, the 29th annual reception hosted by the Pastor and Board of Trustees of St. Sarkis Church in honor of Armenian graduates of the Pasadena Unified School District was held at the Pasadena Armenian Center under the auspices of H.E. Archbishop Moushegh Mardirossian, Prelate. Joining in the celebration were local elected officials, Executive Council member Elo Boyajian, members of the Pasadena Unified School District, St. Sarkis Church, community organizations, parents, sponsors, and friends.

The program began with welcoming remarks by Tavlian Pre-School Director and MC Mrs. Garine Joukadarian, who thanked the guests for joining in the celebration and congratulated the graduates. The American and Armenian national anthems were presented by St. Sarkis Church choirmaster Deacon Yervant Keshishian, accompanied by his wife Maria on the piano.

The Prelate delivered the invocation, joined by St. Sarkis Church Parish Pastor Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan, Archpriest Fr. Vahan Gosdanian, and Rev. Fr. Khoren Babochian, and then conveyed his message. He first greeted and commended the St. Sarkis Church family and organizing committee for hosting the event each year as well as the administrators of the Pasadena Unified School District, educators, parents, sponsors, and all those who have guided our youth to this milestone in their lives. As the students prepare to embark on a new chapter in their lives, the Prelate encouraged them to believe in themselves, to give their best in all that they do, keep reaching for their dreams with faith, hope, determination, and a positive attitude, and to use the knowledge they have gained and their God-given talents for their success and that of our nation. Through the ups and downs of life, he urged them to remain strong and hopeful, to trust in the Lord and look to Him for strength and guidance.

Finally, the Prelate stressed that our youth are not the future of our nation but the present, and quoting from 1 Timothy 4:12, advised the graduates to not let anyone look down on them because they are young, but that they become an example to others with their speech and conduct. “Over these past few weeks we witnessed the powerful voice and active involvement of the youth in Armenia who played a significant role in the dawn of a new and bright era for our nation,” he said, and noting also that soon the Armenian nation will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first Republic of Armenia, stated, “May these historic developments and milestones inspire you to become active participants in the future of our nation and may you inspire others with your works, for you, our youth, have a great deal to offer.”

On behalf of the St. Sarkis Church Board of Trustees, Chairman Mr. Koko Panossian congratulated and commended the graduates and stated that the doors of the church are always open to them for support. He congratulated their parents as well and thanked the scholarship sponsors for their generosity.

On behalf of the city of Pasadena, Councilmember Margaret McAustin conveyed her greetings and highligted the importance of the Armenian community in Pasadena life. Councilmember Tyron Hampton urged the students to remain grounded in their faith and community throughout their lives.

During dinner, guests enjoyed Armenian folk dances and poetry.

The keynote address was delivered by ANCA National Chair Mr. Raffi Hamparian, who focused his message on three points; love, failure, and dedication. He urged the students to love and take the high road in the face of hate and discord, to not be afraid of failure, and to fight for something if they believe in it deeply.

Scholarships were awarded to students provided by Mr. and Mrs. Sarkis and Nune Sepetjian, Cynthia and Sylvia Tomboulian, All-Armenian Student Association, and the Armenian Compatriotic Union of Ourfa.

Pasadena Unified School District Board President Mr.
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Lawrence Torres thanked the organizers and guests for their outpouring of love toward the youth and keeping the sense of community alive, stating that it will make all the difference in their lives.

Finally, St. Sarkis Church youth group members presented six certificates to each of the graduates, from St. Sarkis Church, Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek, Congresswoman Judy Chu, State Senator Anthony Portantino, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and Assemblymember Chris Holden.

The program concluded with the benediction by Rev. Fr. Boghos Baltayan and closing remarks by the MC.

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