At 45, Holy Martyrs’ School gathers friends and supporters
by Talar Aydin
Published: Tuesday June 05, 2012
Oakland Gardens, N.Y. - Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School -HMADS -continued to celebrate its 45th Anniversary with a jovial gala dinner dance. The May 19 event took place at the Garden City Country Club in Garden City, NY.
This event was co-chaired by two former parents and members of Friends of HMADS Lolita Babikian and Arto Vandian. The evening began with a cocktail hour, where guests mingled and sampled lavish appetizers from a variety of stations. The doors of the ballroom opened, and dinner and dancing soon ensued. Kevork Artinian and Friends band kept the guests on the dance floor with a selection of popular Armenian songs. On each decorative table were the dinner dance booklets that featured the two graduating classes of 2012- Kindergarten and the Sixth grade- students' pictures designed by HMADS Alumnae Christine Vandian and her mother Irene Vandian.
The ballroom was filled with more than 250 guests that included every facet of the HMADS family; HMADS Benefactors from founding members to current benefactors, dinner dance booklet chairs, school board members, Friends of HMADS gala committee members, faculty members, parents, HMADS alumni and the Class of 2012 Sixth Grade students.
Friends of HMADS chairperson Hovannes Malikyan opened the evening by welcoming all guests and expressing his appreciation to all benefactors, donors, and guests for their continuous support to the annual dinner dance and to HMADS.
Mr. Arek Nisanyan, co-chair of the School Board acknowledged the presence of benefactors Mr.& & Mrs. Alex Dadourian and Mr. & Mrs. Edward Gulbenkian. He then invited Principal Zarminé Boghosian to address the guests. One of the most memorable moments of the night occurred when Mrs. Boghosian invited all HMADS alumni to the floor. It was wonderful to see all the alumni - from recent graduates, to young professionals, to parents with their own children currently enrolled in the school - lined up alongside Principal Mrs. Boghosian. This was an exceptional way to recognize the quality of academic excellence that HMADS produces.
Mr. Nisanyan along with Mrs. Boghosian and Mr. Malikyan approached the podium to introduce the honoree of the evening Mr. Hratch Arukian. The Honorary Booklet Chairman, was recognized for his constant dedication to the school. Mr. Arukian has linked his determination to give back to the school, and to others, to an insightful Armenian expression: "Door vor Asdvadz dah," or "Give so God will give." Thanks to Mr. Arukian's leadership and enthusiasm, HMADS was able to organize an unforgettable 45th Anniversary gala celebration that further strengthened the school's finances. Mr. Arukian's wife, Negdar, is a staunch HMADS supporter in her own right with her participation to all Friends of HMADS fundraising events as a founding member. Their daughters, Arpi Arukian and Talin Arukian-Atanasov, are alumni of HMADS, and continue to maintain their ties to the school.
The 2012 Annual Gala Dinner Dance once again proved to be a huge success, honoring Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School as the acclaimed academic institution that it is.
Congratulations SURPOTS NAHADAGATS AMENORYA VARZHARAN - HMADS! and... here's to the next 45 years!
Honorary Booklet chair of 2012 Hratch S. Arukian
Being the son of two former educators, Hratch S. Arukian has always appreciated and promoted the union of a quality education and a strong work ethic. Accordingly, he has been an avid and loyal supporter of Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School, an institution very dear to his heart, for almost 30 years. It is only fitting that he holds the prestigious title of Honorary Booklet Chairman for this year's HMADS Gala Dinner Dance, celebrating 45 years of excellence.
Born in Thessaloniki, Greece, Mr. Arukian moved with his family to Ethiopia in the late 1940's. The move was inevitable, since his father had accepted an offer to become Headmaster of the Armenian elementary school ("Kevorkoff Varjaran") located in the capital of Addis Ababa, where his mother would also eventually teach.
At age 14, Mr. Arukian was sent to the American Academy boarding school in Cyprus, where he spent 5 years without his family. He returned to Addis Ababa at the age of 19 and, having been exposed to a specialized high school business curriculum at the boarding school, immediately began working as an accountant at the American embassy.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Arukian made a life-altering decision to leave his entire family and come to the United States to further his education at Pennsylvania State University (PSU). He was accepted into this country on a student visa; his status was "stateless", with no citizenship of any country. After graduation, Mr. Arukian continued on to graduate school at Penn State; however, due to his strong urge to work, he did not complete his thesis. With the help of PSU and State Senator Joseph Clark, a bill was introduced in the Senate on his behalf to change his status from temporary to permanent, which allowed him to work and remain in the country. The private bill was passed and signed by President Kennedy, thus, granting him permanent residence in the United States.
In the early 1960's, Mr. Arukian moved to New York City to work as a junior broker on Wall Street, and he has been working in the field of securities and investments ever since. Today, over a decade past the common age of retirement in this country, Mr. Arukian continues to commute daily to Manhattan, where he works as Senior Director of Investments at Oppenheimer & Co. This is a testament to his dedication, passion and fervent work ethic - overall, a genuine enthusiasm for his profession.
Mr. Arukian lives in Douglaston, Queens, with his devoted wife Negdar, also from Ethiopia. Their daughters, Arpi & Talin, both graduated from Holy Martyrs Armenian Day School, where Negdar has been an active member on various HMADS fundraising committees (most recently Friends of HMADS) for 28 years. Arpi also serves on the Friends committee, as well as the Alumni committee, while Talin supports HMADS from Boston, where she lives with her husband, George. Whether near or far, the Arukian family's ties to their beloved school always remain strong.