LOS ANGELES — Love was in the air last week and it shone brightly among those whose love for the“education of Armenian children was celebrated on Valentine’s Day, not just “in“words, but in deeds.” (1 John 3:18).

A jovial Donor Appreciation dinner marking the“eighth straight year of the triumphant goals of Archbishop Derderian Scholarship“Fund of the Western Diocese was held at Casitas Hollywood among supporters who“recognized the necessity of scholarship and financial aid to assist Armenian schools in retaining student enrollment. Since the inception of the Scholarship Fund in 2012, it has grown to new heights, providing over $285,000 in assistance to a multitude of“noteworthy need-based students in 11 Armenian schools.

“Education plays a continuous role in all spheres in the lives of our children. Your presence tonight, and your support over the years is truly an act of love“demonstrated by your faith in our children as the leaders of tomorrow,” said Abp. Derderian, whose vision was the motivating strength behind this philanthropic mission. “I am immensely grateful for your trust in this most important mission for our children because now more than ever, there is a need to fulfill unmet financial obligations of students who wish to pursue an education in our Armenian schools.

The evening began with an outdoor champagne reception where Board members and the Primate, Abp. Hovnan Derderian greeted guests before proceeding indoors for dinner and an elegant program. Guest were then welcomed by Senior Advisor to the Board, Mr. Roy Boulghourjian, who highlighted the importance of the Scholarship Fund mission. “We value each of you for your unwavering support which has proved instrumental in retaining student enrollment in the Armenian schools,”“he said. He invited Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazian, Pastor of St. Leon Cathedral to give“the invocation and blessing of the tables.

During the course of the evening Mr. Diran Avagyan, Project Manager at the Western Diocese and Advisor, said it was “an honor” to serve on the board with “talented and dedicated individuals whose philanthropic impact on our community has enabled young people to achieve their dreams by keeping them enrolled in Armenian schools.” Mr. Avagyan explained that donations to the Fund could also be made“through the newly established Scholarship Fund website (www.abpderderianscholarshipfund.com) which was created with the help of member Michael Zakian. “Friends and family can now donate directly on line which will help expand the program outreach exponentially.”

Mrs. Alice Chakrian, founding chairlady of the Abp. Derderian Scholarship Fund, communicated her passion for the “Send Your Love to a Child in Need” theme of the program. “From inception, this has been a mission of Love to keep our children engaged in Armenian schools, strengthening their love of language and faith in church and homeland.” Mrs. Chakrian expressed wholehearted gratitude for the“success of the program through the vision of Abp. Derderian, and thanked donors and Board members alike for their support of her leadership of eight years as Chairlady of the Scholarship Fund. Mrs. Chakrian will be relinquishing her position into the capable hands of Eileen Keusseyan, Esq. “This mission is a labor of love, and under the auspices of Primate Hovnan Derderian, the Board and I entrust its leadership to dear friend and colleague Eileen Keusseyan.”

Attendees gave a standing ovation to Mrs. Chakrian for her years of drive that became the motivating force affecting the progress and prosperity of the Scholarship Fund. On behalf of the Board, Mrs. Keusseyan presented her with a diamond heart, a symbol of Mrs. Chakrian’s unwavering love for the mission. “You have raised the bar with your enthusiasm and devotion,” said Mrs. Keusseyan. “It is our moral duty to continue to make the vision a growing truth.”

The festive evening continued into the night with musical entertainment by Artist Nari Harutuyunyan and DJ Toro & Associates.

The Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund (The Fund) was established on the conviction that each and every Armenian student is entitled to an Armenian education within an Armenian school. Through scholarship and financial assistance program, The Fund is dedicated to helping Armenian students in financial need who are intent on pursuing their studies in an Armenian school, which has the added benefit of improving our community at large and developing leaders who are committed to serving their Church and their people.

Current main recipients of the Archbishop Hovnan Derderian Scholarship Fund include: AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School (Canoga Park, CA); the Armenian Sisters Academy (La Crescenta, CA); the C&E Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School (Sherman Oaks, CA); St. Gregory A&M Hovsepian School (Pasadena, CA); Sahag Mesrob Armenian Christian School, (Pasadena CA) (2007); the Western Diocese of the Armenian Church of North America Saturday Schools (Burbank, CA); American University of Armenia (pillar), FLAG Dual Immersion Programs (GUSD), Moshatagh School, Kashatagh Region (Artsakh).

Under the auspices of the Primate Abp. Hovnan Derderian, members of the Scholarship Fund Board are: Rev. Fr. Khajag Shahbazian, Chairlady, Mrs. Alice Chakrian; Vice Chairlady, Mrs. Eileen Keusseyan, Esq.; Mr. Diran Avagyan, Diocesan Advisor; Mrs. Ann Anahid Andreassian, Endowment Funds Manager; Mrs. Armine Bedrossian, Scholarship Funds Manager; Mr. Roy Boulghourjian, Senior Advisor; Mrs. Peggy Kankababian, Media Relations; Mrs. Angela Parsegian, Secretary; Mrs. Silvana Vartanian, Treasurer; Advisors, Mrs. Vicki Grigorian, Mrs. Silva Katchiguian, Dr. Kris Mirzayan, Mrs. Silva Sepetjian, and Mrs. Liz Zorian. Leadership Council: Abp. Hovnan Derderian, Alice Chakrian, Dr. Elie Andreassian and Mr. Hagop Hagopian.

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