ASA students tour Pennsylvania state capitol
Published: Friday June 08, 2012
Harrisburg, Pa. - Armenian music filled the Main Rotunda of the Pennsylvania capitol building as Armenian Sisters Academy seventh and eighth grade students performed in the first ever Armenian Awareness Day celebration.
On the invitation of Senator Daylin Leach on May 22, the students danced in traditional costumes, toured the state capital and enjoyed lunch in his office. The students, while duly impressed by the beautiful marble, intricate mosaic work and extensive woodworking in the capital were most awed with the working basketball hoop in the Senator's office.
Eighth grade student Narek Jarayan commented, "It was a pleasure to meet Senator Leach. I respect his understanding of Armenian culture."
In addition to the three dances in the rotunda, Armenian Awareness Day was further enhanced by a traveling exhibit "Who are the Armenians?" from the Armenian Library and Museum of America in Watertown, Mass. Archbishop Oshagan Choloyan and St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Church of Wynnewood, PA sponsored the display which flanked the sides of the round room.
Senator Leach then held a press conference, followed by a short history of the Academy by Board Chairman Asadur Minasian. National president for the Society for Orphaned Armenian Relief (SOAR) George Yacoubian, Jr. discussed the Armenian orphan relief organization he started in 2006 and David E. Edman, former chair of AIPAC Philadelphia Leadership Council and currently Managing Partner of Risk Management Partners, related the Jewish Holocaust to the Armenian Genocide.
Senator Leach, whose wife is Armenian and who lives near the Academy, is very familiar with Armenian culture, especially the food. As a special treat, he ordered Armenian delicacies for lunch.
The capitol tour, given by his office staff, offered the students a glimpse into governmental life as they sat in on a working session of the state House of Representatives. They learned that the capital was built between 1902-6 at a cost of $13 million and at the time, women were not allowed in the building. Students sat in the Senate chamber and saw the aisle that divides Republicans and Democrats.
Following lunch, the students visited the State Museum of Pennsylvania which highlighted all things indigenous to the state - from arrowheads, to animals, to artwork.
"I really enjoyed the museum and the variety of exhibits," stated seventh grade student Argirel Lion.
A planetarium show on stars wrapped up the afternoon. Eighth grade student Derek Dervishian summed it up well: "It was fun and educational and I'm glad I got to share the experience with my friends."