Michigan Manoogian school students visit Armenia
Published: Sunday July 15, 2012
Southfield, Mich. - This year's annual trip to Armenia spent touring the country's historic sites and taking in its natural beauty will be remembered by students of the AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School in Michigan as a highlight of their high school career.
The trip was one of the many exciting initiatives the school offers to complement its impressive courses, earning it the title of one of America's best high schools, according to the U.S. News & World Report's annual ranking, released just last month.
The AGBU-organized trip was attended by students in the school's junior and senior classes, forming a group of thirty peers who had spent months preparing for the exciting ten-day excursion. Led by principal Dr. Hosep Torossian and teachers Anahit Toumajan and Sebouh Avedikian, it was the students themselves, the majority having never before visited the region, who acted as the group's tour guides. Every student had devoted the semester to conducting in-depth research on the various people and places that have shaped Armenia's rich history and as they traversed the country, each engaged fellow classmates, and impressed their teachers with their vast knowledge. Avedikian, the head of the school's Armenian Department, praised, "It was a great pleasure to watch and listen to the students lead us all and narrate the different chapters in Armenia's history. They demonstrated a deep understanding of their studies, and were clearly inspired by what they had the opportunity to experience firsthand. As educators, we very much enjoyed seeing Armenia through their eyes."
The students' itinerary was filled from the moment they stepped off the plane on April 26, 2012 and to a midnight dinner party, to the day they made their way back home, on May 4. On the days in between, students enjoyed a complete cultural immersion experience, visiting sites including the St. Gregory the Illuminator Cathedral, the Geghard Monastery, Holy Echmiadzin and Lake Sevan and the AGBU Nork Children's Center, where they watched performances by its talented students. Prior to the trip home, the students paid tribute to their heritage by visiting the grave of the creator of the Armenian alphabet, Saint Mesrob Mashdots.
Anticipation for the trip mounted after the students took part in an online conference and virtual tour with their peers from the AGBU Marie Manoogian Institute (MMI) in Buenos Aires on April 11, 2012. The virtual tour was made possible by the AGBU Armenian Virtual College (AVC), which was launched three years ago and has proven to be an invaluable resource for AGBU's schools, supplementing the material for the course "Armenian Language, History and Culture" - which was a pre-requisite for the Michigan trip. Guided by Hasmik Khalapyan, Academic Director of AVC, and Arpine Tavakalyan, AVC Program Coordinator and instructor, both groups of students took a virtual tour of the inside of the Matendaran Institute and some of the thousands of medieval manuscripts that it houses. Following the tour, the students exchanged ideas and shared their positive experiences using AVC, realizing that despite their distance, they had a common interest in their cultural heritage. With the help of Principal Torossian and MMI teacher Rosita Youssoufian, they also asked each other questions in Armenian, English and Spanish, practicing their language skills. The video conference offered a preview of Armenia's celebrated monuments, not only for the students from the Alex & Marie Manoogian School, but for the Argentinian students as well, who will embark on their own trip to Armenia later this summer. If the experience their Michigan-based counterparts had is any indication, they are sure to create memories that will last a lifetime and continue to enrich their studies.
To learn more about the AGBU Alex & Marie Manoogian School, please visithttp://www.manoogian.org/
To learn more about Armenian Virtual College, click here:http://www.avc-agbu.org/home.php
Established in 1906, AGBU (www.agbu.org) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 400,000 Armenians around the world.