GHS hosts GUSD’s 18th annual Armenian Genocide commemoration


Theodore Supangan

Students met in the John Wayne PAC lobby after their performances.

On April 17, the Glendale Unified School District held its 18th annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration at the John Wayne Performing Arts Center. The event began with vocal performances of the American and Armenian national anthems by Glendale High School’s acapella choir, followed by an introduction from Greg Krikorian and Dr. Armina Gharpetian of the Board of Education.

After speeches from the interim superintendent, Dr. Kelly King, board president Jennifer Freemon, and student board member Sophia James, California congressman Adam Schiff made a surprise speech for the event. Schiff stated that it was important to honor the genocide  and fight for recognition.

“It was honestly pretty amazing to see such a powerful figure recognize the Armenian Genocide, considering how others might not do the same,” said senior Tenny Alaverdian who watched backstage, prior to her performance.

Many schools had student representatives at the event, including Crescenta Valley High, R.D. White Elementary, Jefferson Elementary, Rosemont Middle School, Hoover High, and Glendale High School, as well as Clark seniors Tenny Alaverdian, Rita Bedrossian and Aida Tonoyan.

The first Clark performer was Tonoyan, who danced on pointe to a contemporary original ballet to the traditional Armenian song “Elegia.”

“This dance was something I’d done before,” Tonoyan said. “It felt different dancing in front of a crowd at an event like this. I’ll be sad that I won’t be dancing again next year, but I’ll for sure be in the audience.”

Then, Alaverdian and Bedrossian sang a duet called “Sirelyats Hrajeshd.” It was sung to honor fedayi, which means “freedom fighters” in Armenian, who protected Armenia during the genocide.

“This is my fourth year participating in the commemoration,” Alaverdian said. “It truly was an honor to sing at an event with someone as prestigious as a congressman in attendance.”

The district held the 18th annual Armenian Genocide Commemoration in order to remind people of the injustices that man have committed against man and to celebrate those that have stood in the face of such injustices.