The opening of the computer room was celebrated on September 10 with a festive ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by many dignitaries and guests including Hranush Hakobyan, Armenia’s minister of Diaspora Affairs; Ara Vardanyan, executive director of the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund; Hrair Muradian, chairman of the fund’s Syrian affiliate; Gayane Soghomonyan, head of the Yerevan Municipality’s Education Department; Hamlet Margaryan, administrator of Yerevan’s Arabkir district; Grigor Shahnazaryan, deputy administrator of the same district; and several alumni of the school.
The establishment of the computer room is the maiden project of the Syrian affiliate, which was launched in April 2009. Its donation, worth about 8 million AMD (U.S. $22,000), comprises 20 latest-model computers, a printer, a scanner, a DVD player, a television set, projectors, computer desks, and chairs.
In remarks addressed to faculty and students during the opening ceremony, Syrian-affiliate chairman Hrair Muradian said, “I bring you warm greetings from Syria. I’m so very impressed by the sight of this beautiful and well-maintained school, and commend you for keeping it in such pristine condition. May this new computer room thoroughly serve its purpose and may you enjoy it in your quest for knowledge.”
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the guests looked on with pride as upper-level students used their new computers to write individual essays on the theme of benevolence.
Although the No. 56 School stands apart among the Armenian capital’s high schools with its well-appointed campus and up-to-date furnishings, up till recently it was seriously lacking in terms of advanced technological learning tools, a computer room in particular. As soon as the fund’s Syrian affiliate was informed of this critical need, it took urgent action, soon afterwards making the creation of a computer room on campus a reality.
A highly dedicated faculty and academic excellence are hallmarks of the No. 56 School. In addition to its core curriculum, for the past 15 years it has offered free afterschool classes in physics, chemistry, history, French, and needlecraft as well as gymnastics programs. The school also has a choir, which frequently performs in concerts.
Another area at which the school has always excelled are its various cultural events, which help students acquire a deeper awareness of Armenian history and culture, shape their world view, and go on to become model citizens. Thus it was not accidental that the idea of student and teacher participation in the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund’s annual National Giving drive was born and began to be implemented at the No. 56 School. For the past 14 years, the entire student body and faculty have joined forces to make monetary contributions to projects carried out by the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund in Armenia and Artsakh.
In her speech during the computer room’s opening ceremony, principal Mariam Hovhannisyan eloquently expressed the message which the school’s teachers have for years conveyed to their students. “The gift we have received is undoubtedly great, but its spiritual value is greater still,” she said. “Thanks to this wonderful project, our school has in a very real sense become part of the bond between Armenia and the diaspora. Just as we appreciate the Syrian-Armenian community’s largesse and feel that it is our duty to take good care of its gift, we are gratified by the fact that today our students were once again reminded of the importance of a good deed. They learned that being engaged in altruism is always a rewarding experience.”
On his part, Ara Vardanyan of the fund congratulated the students and faculty for their new computer room. “I am so happy that students of the No. 56 School will be able to acquire computer literacy, which is an advantage of crucial importance in our time,” he said.