By Tom Vartabedian
LOWELL, Mass. — Sam Manoian Post 1, Lowell Armenian-American Veterans achieved significant milestones September 24 at its annual scholarship dinner-dance.
The group reached the $200,000 plateau in distributions, maintaining a tradition that started in 1990. Over these 26 years, a total of 170 students have been honored with disbursements.
“It says a lot for our membership,” said Commander Richard Juknavorian. “Every year we come up with an appropriate list and single out these students who are attending excellent colleges and making a significant contribution to our Merrimack Valley community.
“Our investment into the future serves as an inspiration for other organizations in keeping our youth engaged,” Juknavorian added. “We make it as family-oriented as possible. Parents, grandparents and siblings are all part of the proceedings.”
A large crowd turned out at Sts. Vartanantz Church’s Kazanjian Memorial Hall in nearby Chelmsford to applaud seven recipients: Daniel Papazian, attending University of South Carolina; Tamara Manoli, attending University of New Hampshire; Benjamin Balian, attending University of Massachusetts, Lowell; Ryan Ajemian, attending Coastal Carolina University; Aram Nalbandian, attending Suffolk University Law School; Azniv Nalbandian, attending Pennsylvania State University, and Adrineh Nalbandian, attending Colby Sawyer College.
Scholarship Chairman George Manuelian applauded the students for their diverse accomplishments in all phases of academic and athletic life, bringing extreme credit to their schools and families.
“Anything we can do to enhance their schooling is a mission we take very seriously,” he noted. “In reviewing their credentials and resumes, they are indeed a select group of individuals.”
Among the high schools represented were: Shrewsbury, Lexington, Westford Academy and Central Catholic in Lawrence.
Aram Nalbandian graduated from Holy Cross College before attending law school at Suffolk University.
The event honors Menas G. Boghosian, a pillar of the organization in whose name a scholarship fund has originated.
The group’s history dates back to 1947 when several Armenian-American veterans of World War II gathered in Lowell to count their blessings and pay continued homage to the United States military and all its adjuncts. The patriotism and commitment have been exemplary over the decades.
Through color guards, patriotic ceremonies, parades, firing squads, hospital visits, children’s Christmas parties and gravesite decorations, their presence has been felt throughout the public sector.
“We take our proud and venerable place among other similar groups throughout Lowell in keeping the Armenian-American image in the forefront,” adds Aram Jeknavorian, former commander.
Several veterans have made their presence felt as members of the Armenian Genocide Monument Committee of Merrimack Valley, instrumental in the erection of a compelling memorial at Lowell City Hall two years ago.