WATERTOWN — A crowd of about 450 friends and supporters of St. Stephen’s Armenian Elementary School (SSAES) gathered on March 12 at the Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College in Wellesley to celebrate the school’s 30th anniversary. The celebration, presided over by Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan, Prelate of Eastern United States, raised approximately $150,000 to support the school’s endowment fund.
The outpouring of love and support expressed for the school was a testament to the role that this educational institution holds in the Armenian community of Greater Boston.
The anniversary celebration started with a cocktail reception which gave parents, alumni and friends the opportunity to mingle and reconnect. Then, the attendees were invited into the auditorium where the program was introduced by master of ceremonies and SSAES Alum Tamar Kanarian (Class of 1994), who welcomed everyone and reflected on her own journey at the school.
The program began with an invocation by Choloyan, followed by a touching testimonial from Alum Ani Nalbandian Attamian (Class of 1992), who had flown from London for the occasion.
In her remarks, the school’s principal of 28 years, Houry Boyamian, paid tribute to the school founders, to past and present members of the school board and committees, the St. Stephen’s Church pastor, Rev. Antranig Baljian and its Board of Trustees, as well as, to the administrative and teaching staff. She thanked the 30th Anniversary Committee, headed by Sarkis Ourfalian, for their work to make this a memorable event. She also expressed her gratitude to the local Armenian organizations, as well as, to past and present donors and benefactors of the school for their generosity and continued support.
In her speech, Boyamian noted, “From the early days of the School, we were aware of the challenge facing us. In a region that is home to some of the best educational institutions in the nation, an Armenian school would have to offer an excellent education in order to thrive and meet the demands of a modern American society, all the while preserving and maintaining our Armenian culture and heritage.
“Over the past 30 years, we have succeeded in rising to the challenge, by providing a competitive educational curriculum with a strong foundation in Armenian language and culture, and by instilling a deep sense of identity into hundreds of Armenian American students.”
Boyamian concluded by saying, “We have reached our 30th anniversary together and together, with your faith, your commitment and your support we shall continue our journey ahead, to a future that is brimming with promise and potential. So tonight, I invite you all to join me in ensuring a bright future for many more generations of proud Armenians to come”.
Following the principal’s address, Ourfalian took the stage to recognize major donors and contributors to the event. “You are all part of the SSAES family and each one of you holds the key to its future,” he said.
The second part of the program featured singer Alla Levonyan from Armenia who transported the guests back to the homeland with her warmth, her distinctive accents and her emotionally-charged songs. Pianist Jasmine Atabekyan accompanied her and won the audience’s acclaim after performing a breathtaking rendition of Khachaturian’s Sabre Dance.
The event concluded with a lavish dessert reception.
St. Stephen’s is the only Armenian day school to be fully accredited by the Association of Independent Schools in New England (AISNE), the accrediting body for independent elementary schools. The school’s accreditation in 2003 by the Association of Independent Schools in New England confirmed that the School holds itself to high standards and is in compliance with the best practices of AISNE’s accreditation protocols.
To learn more about SSAES, visit www.ssaes.org.