The recent Armenian Educational Foundation Oratorical Contest was held in Glendale, California on February 2, 2019.
It was a very encouraging and exciting to witness the ten student representatives from the five high schools in the Los Angeles area that took part in the contest (there were junior high schools as well).
This was the third year and the seriousness about the contest is augmenting every year.
The Armenian language topic was the preservation of the Armenian language. The participants spoke with such zeal and enthusiasm that made those present very, very happy and constantly applauded the students. The English language contest was about the Velvet Revolution, and similarly it was encouraging.
One of the students said that Armenian music, theater, clubs, associations, dancing and others are fine and important, but of the Armenian language is not used then all efforts will be in vain. Of course, the students spoke perfect Armenian and gave us some optimism that the Armenian schools are doing what they should.
Naturally, every student does not speak perfect Armenian.
A few Armenian Day Schools have closed for various reasons. Basically, the tuition at private Armenian schools is high. It can vary from $700 to $900 a month, which simply means that it will cost the family at least $10,000 annually. A family with two or more children may have more problems paying tuition. Of course non-Armenian private schools are more expensive but research indicates that most of them have large permanent funds to assist the students.
Also, sometimes the population decreases in an area and students are not available so the schools close their doors.
If we want to preserve our nation in the Diaspora, we should do more to help Armenian schools so they can reduce expenses and more students can attend them. It is true that many of the Armenian Day Schools opened because philanthropists donated large sums, but that is not enough. I remember one day philanthropist Alex Manoogian (God bless his memory) said that the point is not just to start a school, but more importantly, how will the annual budget be met if constant funding is not available.
We published great news last month about an Armenian school being opened in Valance, France, costing $1.7 million, and fortunately a Lebanese-Armenian philanthropist Kevork Arabian donated 40% of the construction expenses (about $800,000).
Now, will they be able to meet the budget? That’s the more important issue and I hope that people will constantly assist the Armenian schools for the existence of the Armenian people and nation.