The Wobbling Pillar

Editorial, 14 July 2013

“When three Armenians settle in a new country, the first thing they do is build a church, a club, and a school,” is the axiom, boast, half-joke Diaspora Armenians have told to each other and to “odars” for more than a century. There is much truth in the observation.

The bad news is that one of the three pillars—the day-schools—are wobbling everywhere in the Diaspora.

Editorial, 14 July 2013

“When three Armenians settle in a new country, the first thing they do is build a church, a club, and a school,” is the axiom, boast, half-joke Diaspora Armenians have told to each other and to “odars” for more than a century. There is much truth in the observation.

The bad news is that one of the three pillars—the day-schools—are wobbling everywhere in the Diaspora.

There are anywhere from 600,000 to 700,000 Armenians in California. Greater Los Angeles prides in having almost a dozen Armenian day-schools. However, the student count is a depressing 5,000. While it’s difficult to determine the number of school-age Armenian students in California, the student count is less than 1% of California Armenians. This might seem an embarrassing statistic for a community which prides itself as being the largest in Diaspora (if one discounts Russia) but for the fact that in various Armenian centres—Paris, Buenos Aires, Jerusalem–Armenian day- schools are also struggling.

In Canada there were four day schools (three in Montreal and one in Toronto). Last year one of the Toronto schools (owned by the AGBU) closed due to financial challenges. The three Montreal schools have 1,350 students. In recent years these numbers have been maintained at an even level, thanks to new immigrants from Syria and Iraq. One of the schools also admits Christian Arabs. The Toronto school has 550 students (0.8% of the Toronto-area Armenian population).

A primary reason Armenian day schools don’t attract Armenian students is the cost of tuition. In Toronto and Montreal the average annual income (before taxes) per household is about $68,000.  In Toronto the tuition fees at the Armenian day school are $4,800 (sans transportation and ancillary expenses such as registration, books, sports activities, school trips, etc.). This is a formidable financial challenge, and counts for approximately 10% of net family income per student. In Montreal combined tuition and bus transportation costs are a low $2,600 because the Quebec government subsidizes the schools.

In the Los Angeles Basin cities where most California Armenians live, the annual (before taxes) household income, according to the “Los Angeles Times” is $34,000 (Hollywood), $54,000 (San Fernando Valley), $57,000 (Glendale), $63,000 (Pasadena), and $64,000 (Burbank). The average annual day-school tuition per student ranges (depending on the school) from $500 to $800 per month, not including ancillary expenses. You do the math about the size of the slice tuition takes from the family income pie.

While Armenian day school tuition fees have risen beyond the rate of inflation, they are still modest compared to those of other private schools. For example, in Toronto the average tuition fees for private schools are $15,000.

Are these demands on Armenian families financially sustainable? It’s a fact that families with two children, and who could send one child to Armenian school, choose not to send both children to Armenian school so as not to play favorites. In other instances, parents have pulled their children from Armenian school because of harsh economic conditions.

Armenian day schools are a barometer of the community’s health.  When a school faces tuition crisis it means the community is facing a crisis. Although the tuition crisis is palpable, nobody seems to be making a significant and over-arching effort to resolve the dilemma across the Diaspora.

The negative side-effects of Armenian day school “high tuition” are significant and self-evident. Because many Armenian parents can’t afford to send their children to Armenian schools, they feel excluded from the community, and those who send their children to Armenian schools feel their lifestyle is demonstrably constricted due to the cost of providing their children education at an Armenian school. The tuition pressure also restrict parents from making greater financial contribution to their church, community centre, to Armenia and to Artsakh, to cite a few vital causes. Thus an institution vital to the continuance of the community may be eating away at the well-being of that very community.

Is the Diaspora buckling under the high cost of Armenian life? How much financial sacrifice do parents have to make to retain our Armenian life and make sure their children are educated in an Armenian atmosphere and are versed in our language, culture, and identity? Will our communities slowly implode under the costs of retaining a semblance of Armenian communal and family life?

The current vigor of North American Armenian communities is mostly due to emigration from Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and Istanbul. North American Armenian community life had begun to fade by the ‘60s. With the pioneers (Genocide survivors) of the community dead or in failing health, the second generation was often assimilated or half-hearted about carrying on the torch. A few could speak Armenian. It was the newcomers from the Middle East who revived these hobbling communities. With the Middle East emptying of Armenians, North American and European Armenian communities can’t count on future white knights from Beirut, Damascus, Aleppo, Jerusalem, and Cairo to revive Diaspora communities. The Diaspora has to give birth and nourish its domestic community leaders and educators.

One of the aims of Diaspora Armenian schools is to be a primary source of our community future leaders and activists. Without Armenian schools our chances of knowledgeable and committed future leaders dim significantly. Without capable leaders there can’t be a healthy community.

It’s high time our communities took a serious look at the looming Armenian school crisis. Are we cognizant of the challenges or are we stuck in the mindset of previous decades? Do we appreciate the importance of our schools in the survival of our communities? Finally, how do we make sure our schools flourish and tuition fees are affordable?

Our schools need additional financial support from the community, from foundations, from wealthy Armenians and from Armenia. As much as a subsidy to Armenian parents who want their children to be educated in an Armenian milieu, the subsidy would be an investment in our communities’ future. Armenian schools are not a luxury. They are crucial for our communal survival.

 

 

27 comments
  1. Great Article

    This is a great article. The one thing I would add is that as Armenians, we need to be honest with ourselves and also analyze the shortcomings of the Armenian schools themselves. In particular, do Armenian schools prepare Armenians to compete with global population, or, are Armenian schools just an extension of the cliques that dominate Armenian community centers?  

    1. Product of Armenian Schools

      Ted,

      I am a product of Armenian schools in Lebanon–from kindergarten (Sourp Nshan) to high school graduation (Yeprem & Martha Philibosian) in 1965.

      Some 50 years after that auspicious day, I can categorically state that all my former classmates and all those former students of Armenian schools I have come to know over the years have done very well in their careers and in the ways they have made use of the the living they have earned. Along with a solid education, all have become beneficiaries of life-long friendships they cemented in those formative years.

      Having said that, the issue of Armenian schools in the Americas is very complex. There probably is no solution that fits all. 

      I hope that the editor attaches to this comment  the link to an article I translated from the pioneer of Armenian schools on the North American continent, Gabriel Injejikian.

      Charter Schools in America

      1. Give Armenian parents the benefit of the doubt

        Dear Vahe,

        You correctly point out that the issue concerning Armenian North American schools is complex.

        My attention was directed to Armenian schools in North America, given that the context of the article only focused on this point. Success has many measurements. In my opinion (take it for what it's worth), Armenian schools in North America have failed Armenian students, when Armenian students, born and raised in North America, speak English with a heavy accent. I am saying this as an immigrant, whose accent is not as pronounced. In North America, speaking English without an accent helps open doors.

        The intent wasn't to attack anyone who is a product of an Armenian school. The article discussed why Armenian parents do not send their children to schools of their community, with its main theme being based on the monetary aspect. My point was to give Armenian parents the benefit of the doubt, by raising the issue, that Armenian schools, do not provide educational value, even at a higher tuition. 

        I agreed with the rest of the body of the article about the importance of Armenian schools. However, let's objectively analyze whether the educational value offered by Armenian schools in North America meets the standards of parents of the best and brightest for Armenian youth.

        Best,

        Ted

        1. Ted’s Armenian Schools

          Ted, I vehemently disagree with you.

          Armenians born in the U.S. do not have "accents". Sometimes they might have a certain inflection but who doesn't? There are Bostonian, Southern, New Yorker… inflections.

          Having said that, even if they have an accent, if  they are capable they will reach the zenith of their profession. Remember Henry Kessinger with his German accent? How about Zbignew Brezjinski's Polish accent? Even better, how about Vartan Gregorian, the former president of Brown University, the ex-president of the New York Public Library and president of the Carnegie Corporation?

          North America  is the bastion where talent is appreciated no matter origin and accent.

          Armenian schools provide a modicum of  "Armenianess" in the sea of Anglo or Franco superiority of social pressures. The little Armenian that they teach washes off in time. The only thing that remains is their knowledge of their heritage; some do continue on that road and some do not.

          Armenian school standards are equal to that of any other American school. As you suggested, let's analyze: if the value of education was not there, then how come our graduates are admitted to important universities such as the UCLA, Berkeley, etc.? How come many Armenian school graduates have become public servants, lawyers, doctors, dentist? All from these "low standard" schools.

          Therefore,Ted, your premise that Armenian schools do not meet high standards doesn't apply. Kids who attend the "better" American schools have not shown any advantage over hard-working kids attending Armenian schools. If your kid is bright he/she will succeed no matter what school he/she attends.

          It is a pity that financial considerations keep many away from Armenian schools, but those who can afford but do not send them, do so for their personal satisfaction so that they would be able to say: "I send my son/daughter to such-and-such school" meanwhile thinking that their children would be more successful. Sending your children  to more expensive schools does not guarantee that.

  2. The ‘Accent’ Argument

    Isn't it a fact that after a certain age, no matter how much one tries, one will not acquire the unique English accent of that particular country–whether in the U.S., Britain, Australia or Canada…?

    This does not apply only to Armenians, but to Greeks, Arabs, Italians and so on.

    I have not lived in the U.S. but I find it hard to believe that if one does not have an American-English accent, ''doors will be closed'' to one.

    I see it in Britain where people with non-British accents have reached high places, despite their accents. There are famous surgeons, architects, conductors of symphonic orchestras (one of them an Armenian from Beirut) who all have their distinctive ethnic accents and yet have climbed the ladder of fame and success.

    There are ways of funding Diaspora Armenian day schools, but that is a topic for another time perhaps.

    I can speak from my family experience. When my brother could not afford to pay for his two children's tuition fees at Sourp Hagop Armenian day school in Montréal, he was forced to send them to Canadian schools where the fees were vastly incomparable to that of the Armenian school's tuition.

    1. Correction

      One third of the 700 students who attend the school you mention are subsidized by the church for their tuition fees.  All the parents have to do is show proof of eligibility of not being able to afford it.  

      Your family made a conscious choice to take their kids to another institution which is their right as parents. 

  3. Many facets

    Indeed, Armenian education is a complex subject, and the difficulty of paying school fees, although a major factor in itself for many parents, is of less importance than the willingness to raise Armenian children, i.e. children who will continue to be, feel and act as Armenians first, or as well as Armenians, besides being the citizens of these countries.

    There may be several times more children outside Armenian schools than inside, not because their parents can not afford the fees, not because they assume they shall find a better education in local schools, but because they just don't want to educate their children as Armenians. Some of them send their children to private schools much more expensive than Armenian schools. They never contribute a dime for the well being of the Armenian schools or any other institutions, they think their children will have a better life forgetting their origins and melting in the pot.

    This is oudzatsoum, odaratsoum, losing our identity. Otherwise our communities would be more vigorous, and even afford to have all the financial means to create the best schools, free for every Armenian child.

    The school I attended in Cairo, Kalousdian National School was founded by Agha Garabed Kalousd, in 1854, because he believed I should attend an Armenian school almost a century later (I am proud I was there celebrating its centenary). There are thousands of Armenians in North America now richer than Kalousd, what are they doing for the survival of their nation?

    Vrej-Armen
    2013-07-19

  4. Response to Serj

    Serj,

    The accent is  an example. If you don't like that example, fine. If you need to point to exceptions in order to prove the rule, fine… whatever.

    The accent example is miniscule, and we should not lose sight of the big picture– do Armenian schools provide a competitive platform for Armenian students in this global economy?

    1. Questioning the Question

      Parents, whether they are bilingual or not and I meant to say whether they have ceased speaking Armenian at home, are no less a primary factor for children to have accent, subtle as it may be. The issue of accent as an example to challenge an academic institution is irrelevant.

      Ted

      Let me counter your question with the following question: Do the public or private non-Armenian schools “ provide a competitive platform for Armenian students in this global economy?”

      My bet, on my gut feeling, is in favor for the students who have attended Armenian schools. I wonder what would be yours?

      1. Response

        Hi Vahe,

        The problem is that if I give my opinion, it is just an opinion. It is not a calculated response.

        Let me ask you, what do you think a successful metric(s) would be to judge whether Armenian schools provide a competitive education for Armenian students today? 

        Rather than pointing to success stories, let's start examining the weakest link. Where have Armenian schools failed those Armenians who did have talent, but fell through the cracks?

        Once again, just to reiterate, I agree on the importance of Armenian schools. However, let's objectively analyze whether the educational value offered by Armenian schools in North America.

        1. Ted’s Questions

          Ted,
          You want to analyze the educational value of Armenian schools in the U.S. How do you do that? By its results.

          It seems that you are dealing in generalities and are bypassing the facts. Your question about those who "fell through the cracks" is a non-starter as there are no statistics. What do you mean by that observation? Who are they? Do you mean those who could not keep up with academic studies?

          In every society, including schools, there will be people who make and those who do not. After 45 years in North America, and having experienced Armenian schools, I can say that Armenian schools can compete with any "hot shot" American school.

          One can not expect every Armenian to be "somebody", but we have plenty of achievers.

          It would be interesting to know what constitutes "talented but fallen through the cracks." Of course lack of financial considerations are not being discussed here.

           

          1. Serj’s Generalities

            Serj,

            You are also speaking in generalities. What are the median and average math scores of Armenian schools compared to that of the "hot shot" American schools you talk of? How about reading comprehension? After, as you say, 45 years in North America, and having experienced Armenian schools, you are in a better position to have access to these facts.

            Serj, I implore you to silence me, as well as others who might disagree with you, by providing a comparison of Armenian schools with the "hot shot" American schools with respect to the median and average math scores.

             

          2. Math scores,
            Ted,
            Why are you hung up with " math scores" and asking facts about it.?
            This discussion started with  "quality" of Armenian Schools.
            Let me repeat. I am only concerned with the bottom line, final results of Armenian schools' graduates  status in life.
            There are so many graduates ,   how many of them achieve ? e.i, assuming  there are 25 graduates at a given year and 15 of them go to higher learning, well that is the proof in the pudding. If their math scores met the standards or not  is irrelevant.
            It seems that you are math oriented and you see success thru that prism.
            Bottom line is that Armenian Schools, at least in Los Angeles, compete very well with state schools and have a very high  percentage of successful graduates who have arrived somewhere in our society. How can you argue against, doctors, dentists, lawyers, architects, judges , all graduates of Armenian schools.?

        2. Re Armenian Schools

          Ted,

          I was not expecting a calculated response from you. I know that you, much like I, are not equipped to give a well-informed response. I was expecting to hear your gut feeling about Armenian schools. You were evasive.

          There is always going to be problems with Armenian schools. If it is not the math score, it may be the verbal score. If it is none of these, there may be something else for an Armenian parent to object. The Armenian school in the Diaspora is a participatory institution where parents outside the school are as important as teachers to best educate children and achieve the best results. As far as I am concerned, historically Armenian schools in the Diaspora have done well.

          Armenian schools may not be for parents who rely solely on math and verbal scores. There are ample private schools that may have achieved equal or better math and verbal scores, where Armenian is not heard, lest the students develop an accent. I am sure that these private schools would be more than happy to enroll Armenian children, as well for a fee.

    2. Competitivness

      Ted,

      Yes, Armenian schools provide sufficient education for any kind of economy. It all depends on the individual. Do you know Armenian school graduates who have become lawyers? I do. Do you know Armenian school graduates who have become doctors or dentists? I know several.

      Maybe you should expand on your idea of  the global economy. My examples are for micro-economics– local boys who made good. That is the important thing.

      Can you explain what the global competitive platform is for an Armenian school graduate, unless they are in a hierarchy of a big corporation? Also do American schools provide that platform, if so, how?
       

      1. Response to competitiveness

        Serj,

        Do you know Armenian school graduates who have become bag boys at a grocery store, who are in their mid-thirties? I do. Do you know Armenian school graduates who hang out at Tim Horton's waiting to be the first to eat a breakfast burger? I know several. 

        You're right, the term global economy is too wide. 

        I am asking this sincerely – What are the median and average math scores of Armenian schools compared with the top schools that are within a reasonable proximity? How about reading comprehension?
         

        1. More on Competitiveness

          Hello again, Ted,

          Why did they become grocery bag-boys? What is the difference between an Anglo and a Latino graduate? As I said, every group has successes and failures. Just because the person is Armenian doesn't make him/her different from others.

          Why do you "blame" Armenian schools for the misfortunes of some? One would like to know the reasons for failing to advance in life. I assume the most important reason is lack of education. Without better education, failure is multiplied in this economy. Even some with higher educational degrees are having problems finding jobs, let alone high school graduates–Armenian or Anglo.

          As for math scores, some instances are relevant BUT only if the person follows a scientific career. You do not expect everybody to become a scientist, do you?

          My son hated math: He barely got passing grade in math, but through higher education and an MA in public administration, he has an important position in municipal government. Math is not for everybody. The important thing is the ratio of success to the totality of Armenian school graduates, which is very high in Los Angeles.

  5. Recap of Serj’s Arguments

    Serj,

    Let's have a recap of our arguments:

    Me: Armenian schools are important. However, in North America, they may not be adequate for all students to succeed. We need to objectively measure the mean and median scores of math and reading comprehension (list not exhaustive) between Armenian schools and non-Armenian schools, in order to ensure students have sufficient tools.

    Serj: Armenian schools are successful and there does not need to be any analysis about whether they are doing a good job or not. Armenian schools have produced lawyers, doctors, and dentists–that is all the evidence needed to support the premise Armenian schools are successful. Student success is attributable to the Armenian school. The failure of Armenians graduating from Armenian schools should not be attributed to Armenian schools. Objective measures like math are irrelevant unless one follows a scientific career [this ignores that math skills are used by accountants, financiers, business owners when calculating inventory and projected inventory, etc.]. Therefore, "because the important thing is the ratio of success to the totality of Armenian school graduates," and because Armenian student success is attributable to Armenian schools, but Armenian student failure is not attributable to Armenian schools, Armenian schools produce successful students at a 100% rate.

    Serj, I have to hand it to you. Now I know why you said that "[a]fter 45 years in North America, and having experienced Armenian schools, I can say that Armenian schools can compete with any 'hot shot' American school." You convinced me. Armenian schools are the greatest. They do not need to improve at all, and we do not need to objectively analyze whether they are providing a good education for all students.

    It was a pleasure to have made your acquaintance. 

    1. Ted’s Recap

      Ted,

      Please read one more time what I wrote. I never said that Armenian schools produce 100% success rate. There will be always those who do not make it. Why do you attribute their failure to the schools?  Failures and success are personal. The school prepares you to confront obstacles. It is up to you to do the rest.

      I read a little sarcasm in your last paragraph. Armenian schools are not the greatest. There is always room to improve. Yes, they do provide good education to those who are willing to accept it.
       

  6. Let us be biased for and not against!
    If we shall be biased, let us be for and not against Armenian schools. And let every one of us do his best to improve our schools, to make them the best choice Diasporan Armenians can have to continue be, feel and live as Armenians.

  7. Shame on certain Armenian schools in Lebanon

    Thank You Kuwait and shame on certain Armenian schools in Lebanon who charge money for Syrian Armenians who lost everything and became refugees in Lebanon and other parts of  the world.
     
    Big shame to our church and political parties who run those schools in Diaspora to force Syrian Armenians to pay school registration and education fee for their children who attend Armenian schools in Lebanon. Why Syrian Armenians in Lebanon should pay those school fees? Shame on those.

    Are we going to learn charity and help the needy people from others?? Where are  so called the real Armenian "Christian" values??

    Money and Money, that's what some of Armenian clerics and so called some "politicians" are concerned about and do not care about the poor and refugee Armenians.

    I have heard from a direct source that an Armenian school in Lebanon is charging $400 from one of the Syrian Armenian Families. Shame on that school trustee board and shame on any political and religious organization that runs and supervises that school. Whoever wants the name of that school I can provide.
     

    Thank you Kuwait government and Islamic fund.
     
    شكرا الكويت وعار على بعض المدارس الأرمنية
    في لبنان الذين يتقاضون المال لالأرمن
    السوريين الذين فقدوا كل شيء، وأصبح اللجوء
    في لبنان وجزء آخر من العالم. .
    عار كبير لكنيستنا والأحزاب السياسية الذين
    يديرون تلك المدارس في الشتات لإجبار
    الأرمن السوري لدفع رسوم التسجيل في
    المدارس والتعليم لأطفالهم الذين يحضرون
    المدارس الأرمنية في لبنان.
    لماذا الأرمن السوري في لبنان ينبغي أن تدفع
    تلك الرسوم المدرسية. عار على هؤلاء.
    نحن ذاهبون لمعرفة الخيرية ومساعدة
    المحتاجين من الآخرين؟ حيث هو ما يسمى القيم
    الحقيقية الأرمنية "مسيحي"؟ المال
    والمال ما بعض الأرمن "رجال الدين"،
    ودعا ذلك بعض "السياسيين" نشعر بالقلق
    ولا يهتمون الفقراء والأرمن اللاجئين.
    لقد سمعت من مصدر مباشر ان بعض المدارس
    أرمينيا في لبنان يتقاضون 400 دولار لأحد
    أفراد العائلة الأرمينية السورية. عار على
    أن مجلس أمناء المدرسة والعار على أي تنظيم
    سياسي وديني الذي يدير ويشرف تلك المدرسة.
    الذي يريد من أي وقت مضى اسم تلك المدرسة أنا
    يمكن أن تقدم. شكرا حكومة الكويت والصندوق
    الإسلامي.
    1. Teachers

      Before shaming the schools, please take into consideration that all the Armenian schools in Beirut are already struggling with their budgets and the teachers are working at minimum wages. If they start offering free education to Syrian-Armenian students, it would not be fair for the poor families in Lebanon, then the Iraqi-Armenians, then Armenians from Egypt, etc.

      We shouldn't expect teachers to work for free. After all, they also have families, and bills to pay.

      It's an unfortunate situation, but "shaming" the schools is not the way to go. Instead, we should shame the Armenian government which is not supporting the Diaspora Armenians in need. A government is supposed to help schools, churches, the, economy and more…whatever the need is in our case.

      Armenians are spending millions of dollars building extravagant churches in America while Armenian students are unable to get an education elsewhere…shame on our communities, political parties, government, but not the schools.

      1. To Siamanto,

        Our whole nation is in dire need of a renaissance, if possible.

        If you add a couple of more students free of charge, how will teachers' expense be affected? Our schools are functioning with bare minimum, so are the teachers…..so add a few more students…so what?

        You say that the Armenian government should take care of these schools…..Frankly Siamanto, what planet are you living in?

        The Armenian government can not take care of their own, they are busy filling their pockets.

        How about the Holy See?

        In you last paragraph you are 1000% right… They built a 15 million dollar Diocese in Los Angeles, and they are asking for more and more…

        Because of this money hungry men of cloak, havoc is created among Armenians..Problems in Geneva, in Paris, in Nice….all because of who would control the money…SHAME…

      2. Let us help them not only because they are Armenians but humans

        Hi Siamanto from Lebanon. We all know all Armenian schools in the Diaspora are sponsored or backed by certain Armenian political and religious organizations. So I blame them.

        There are many ways to balance the financial budget rather than always mourn for the shortage. In this short comment I will not write how that could happen: we have sufficient number of Armenian financial experts who can do that.

        The issue of low salary for teachers of some Armenian schools is a very old one for which I have sympathies, but let's not mix the two separate issues of helping Syrian Armenian children get free education–for at least the first few years–and teachers' salaries, when the Kuwait government and specially the World Islamic Fund, headquartered in Kuwait, has already delivered money for Syrian refugees in all parts of the world.

        I would like to shame our religious and political leaders who cannot provide financial support for those families and children. For what more severe days are they keeping their financial resources? This is a very sad day in the history of the Diaspora. Enough is enough, pretending nothing has happened.

        For me there is no difference between Iraqi-Armenians and Syrian-Armenians. I am Lebanese-Armenian and I am sick and tired of people who differentiate between Syrian and Lebanese or Hayasdan Armenian and Artsakh Armenian. We are all Armenians, and before that we are human beings. Refugees–from whatever ethnic and religious background they may be–they are human beings. Let us extend our hands to them. I can help them when I raise this issue publicly; and everybody can extend a little assistance which will not hurt us at all.  

        1. Lebanese Schools

          I find Mr. Mardirossian's letter re the "failure" of Lebanese-Armenian organizations to assist Syrian-Armenian students with their tuition in Lebanese-Armenian schools most unhelpful.

          1. He says that he knows there are ways to balance the books of the subsidized Lebanese-Armenian schools but does not tell us what those ways are. He passes the buck by saying that he knows there are Armenian financial experts who know how to do the work.

          2. He assumes–without providing data–that Armenian religious and political leaders have the financial means to help the Syrian-Armenian students, but are not doing so.

          3. He wants to shame religious and political leaders, he says, by shedding light on the issue, but expects others to provide concrete financial help.

          Most unhelpful, Mr. Mardirossian. There's a graphic, if slightly rude phrase, in North America: "Put your money where your mouth is."

        2. Online Donations

          Parev Boghos,
           
          I agree with you. We are saying the same thing in different ways, I guess. Here's another thought: there have been several funds collected to help Syrians, yet I have to see how they have been disbursed.

          I have an idea. Keghart.com can create an online donation form to help Syrian-Armenian students who need financial support. However, the donations to the school have to be controlled, based on specific criteria they have to fulfill.

           
          Online donations might be more transparent than any other fund, because when you donate you can see the amount go up and then the list of schools which received that money. Of course this needs detailed study. But hopefully Keghart.com will start something new in the Armenian community which would help Armenians, starting with the schools.
  8. Balancing Lives Not Budgets

    One of the most horrible and life-long torments is being turned down from school because of lack of money. Thankfully, I was spared that trauma in my formative years, but as an adult I have been privy to its lasting impression on the few who were sent home or were refused enrollment because their parents could not afford the tuition.

    It is not hard to imagine that the situation unfolding with the Syrian-Armenian refugees in Beirut is not one of balancing the books, but of their lives. All of us have an obligation to the impressionable Armenian young boys and girls to help them ease the added trauma to an already traumatizing experience of being dislocated.

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