Communiqué by the Tekeyan Cultural Association: Arshag Dickranian School in LA Concludes Its Mission
It is a sign of the times that any project or mission in the diaspora tasked to preserve the Armenian heritage gradually will face harder challenges, the school mission being perhaps the most taxing one among them.
In 1981, encouraged by the leadership and the generosity of the late benefactor Arshag Dickranian, the Tekeyan Cultural Association (TCA) embarked on an educational mission by laying the foundations of the Arshag Dickranian School in Hollywood, Calif. Over time, the school expanded to become a K-12 educational institution, eminently serving generations of students by offering a solid academic program along with a core curriculum of Armenian Studies. Today, over 500 graduates look back with pride to the instruction, care and inspiration which the school provided to them. It also helped them to become responsible and productive citizens and members of our community.
The combination of the efforts of the farsighted school board and the dedicated professional faculty and administration, compounded with the care and love of the families, turned the saga of the school into a successful educational mission.
However, during recent years, demographic changes in the area where the school is located, combined with the increasingly alarming scarcity of funding resources, negatively impacted the mission of the school. Community-wide appeals by the school’s Board of Trustees and good faith efforts by the TCA Central Board proved to be insufficient to continue the operation of the school at the level of academic performance which the parents had come to expect from the school.
In consultation with the School Board and prominent community leaders, the TCA Central Board realized that it had no other choice but to terminate the operation of the school. On June 30, 2015, the TCA closed the school with a heavy heart. The closure of the Dickranian School is not a unique phenomenon under diasporan conditions, which have imposed the same fate on several other schools already.
With the utmost sense of its fiduciary responsibility, the Central Board was duty-bound to judiciously preserve its decades-long investment. Consequently, with the advice and the participation of competent real estate experts, the property on 1200 Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood, California was disposed of at the highest possible market value.
The closure of the Dickranian School does not terminate the educational mission of our organization. Soon a task force will be charged with conducting a feasibility study and coming up with a series of recommendations for investments in educational projects with viable and sustainable potentials in various Southern Californian communities. In the meantime, the TCA Central Board, continuing to act within the framework of its mission, will maintain its sponsorship of Tekeyan schools in Lebanon, Armenia and Artsakh, as well as pursue its other educational and cultural programs.
Whereas the Tekeyan Cultural Association of the US and Canada, for the past 34 years, has dedicated a very large proportion of its human and financial resources to the founding, development and maintenance of the Arshag Dickranian School in Hollywood, Calif., at this critical juncture of our educational mission, we feel duty-bound to gratefully acknowledge and express our heartfelt appreciation to the individuals and institutions which supported the operation of the TCA Arshag Dickranian School over the past 34 years. Our thanks and appreciation particularly go to:
- The members of the School Board of Trustees, who shouldered the heaviest burden in steering the day-to-day operations of the school for 34 years.
- The past and present members of the administration and faculty for maintaining the high academic level of the school’s programs and for inspiring the students with pride in their Armenian heritage.
- The parents, for entrusting their children to the school, and supporting it unconditionally throughout its history.
- The Western Diocese of the Armenian Church, under the leadership of Archbishops Vatche Hovsepian and Hovnan Derderian, for lending their unwavering support and for conferring the auspices of the Diocese to the school.
- A long list of individual benefactors for providing the resources and support without which the school could not have existed. The TCA Central Board, families, graduates and students will bear in their minds and hearts the contributions and the memory of the late benefactor Arshag Dickranian, whose family continued the tradition of giving until the last day the school was in operation
- The Armenian General Benevolent Union, the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Lincy Foundation, and the George Ignatius Foundation for their continued annual contributions through the years.
All the above mentioned individuals, organizations and foundations made history through their conscientious contributions to the school and they all deserve our commendation and sincere gratitude.
Tekeyan Cultural Association Central Board of Directors
October 8, 2015