The Prelate Presided Over the Graduation Ceremony at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian High School

On Sunday, June 6, 2021, H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate, presided over the 2021-2022 graduation ceremony at Holy Martyrs Ferrahian Armenian High School in Encino, and delivered his heartfelt message to the 35 graduating students, who received their diplomas by the Prelate and the school’s principal, Mrs. Sossi Shanlian.

The ceremony took place in the “Avedisian” hall of the Holy Martyrs Church complex. In attendance were Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian, Pastor, Mrs. Dzovig Zetlian, member of the Executive Council, Dr. Hasmig Baran, representative of the Board of Regents of Prelacy Armenian schools, Mr. John Kossakian, Principal of the Holy Martyrs “Marie Cabayan” Elementary School, school administration, parents, relatives and guests.

The American and Armenian national anthems were performed by graduate Araz Arabian. A one minute silence tribute took place in memory of the late Chairwoman of the Board of Regents Liza Gaboudian, who passed away the very same day. The opening prayer was conducted by Rev. Fr. Razmig Khatchadourian. Following the prayer, Mrs. Talin Janetsian and Mrs. Ovsanna Kalousdian respectively addressed their words of appreciation to the graduates in Armenian and English. Dr. Hasmig Baran congratulated the graduates on behalf of the Board of Regents and wished success upon them. Afterwards, the students delivered short speeches, then Mrs. Sossi Shanlian, delivered her congratulatory remarks and invited H.G. Bishop Torkom Donoyan to convey his message.

The Prelate first recalled his unique experience as a teacher, when he taught the graduating students for two consecutive academic years from 2018-2020. He praised the remarks made by the students and teachers. He stated, “Today we are happy and proud of all students who are receiving their diplomas after their long years of dedicated work.” Then, he asked the students an important question, which they need to ask themselves after graduation, “who am I?”

The answer is threefold, “First, you are a human being. But that alone is not enough, because we are created in God’s image and are above every other creatures. There are 7-8 billion people living in the world today, but not everyone lives their life to its fullest, therefore you are called to know yourself as a whole person” stressed the Prelate.

“Second, you are an Armenian. It is an honor to be born an Armenian, but to continue living as an Armenian is challenging, because there are many trials that influence a person, especially in this world where assimilation destroys our national identity. Therefore, dear graduates, it must be said that you are a human being, but an Armenian as well, and ask how you can keep yourself an Armenian through your work, education, family and social life in the Diaspora.”

“Lastly, the point that permanently completes our identity is to be a Christian Armenian. Christianity is part of our lives and our Armenian identity. Christianity and the Armenian identity of our nation are united and together they are the focus of our people to live and survive proudly as Armenians.”

The Prelate urged them, “Dear students, after you graduate, you will be physically away from your school, but the pride you will take with you will be your identity. The fact that you studied at the Ferrahian School, always will remind you, that you are a Christian Armenian and called to value your life, and make your parents, your school and your community proud. Know that as a new generation, you are an asset and part of our collective life, and you are invited to be a bright presence in the life of our nation and homeland.”

Following the Prelate’s message, the graduates received their diplomas and the ceremony ended with the Prelate’s blessing.

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