Holy Martyrs Cabayan Elementary & Ferrahian High School (HMCEFHS) was founded in Encino, California in 1964. The historic founding of the school marked the establishment of the first Armenian-American daily educational institution in the United States.
The establishment of a bilingual Armenian day school was one of the many goals of the Armenian-American community during the first half of the 20th century. The first real opportunity for the realization of this goal occurred in the early 1950s, when attorney Mateos Ferrahian bequeathed $300,000 toward the establishment of an Armenian/English bilingual high school. Several years later, Mr. Gabriel Injejikian, an educator from Lebanon, in cooperation with the Executive Board of the Encino-based Holy Martyrs Armenian Apostolic Church, took the necessary steps to start a high school in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles County. A single-family home adjacent to the church was purchased and converted into a school. Thereafter, in the fall of 1964 instructions began with 12 students.
A decade later, the governing board of the school initiated a project to begin construction of the main building, which was completed in three phases from 1974 to 1980. The school further expanded in 1978 with the addition of the elementary and kindergarten sections. In 1989, a second campus was acquired in the North Hills region of the San Fernando Valley and since then, the school has operated on two campuses: The Encino campus that includes the high school, the middle school, and the main administrative offices, and the North Hills campus that includes the elementary school and the preschool. The growth patterns are represented in the School Timeline and for a complete list of facilities please refer to School Facilities.
Over the years, the school has grown substantially, both physically and academically. It has earned the status of a reputable learning institution. In the year 2007-2008, the school enrollment reached its peak of 750, including 147 preschoolers. In the ensuing years, due to the economic downturn, the enrollment dropped by more than one hundred. Currently, the student population is 620, which includes 120 preschoolers.
The school was last accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) in June 2013 for a six-year term. The preschool is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
HMCEFHS admits students without regard to race, color, creed, ethnic origin, sex, or religious affiliation.