Alumni Newsletter » May 2022

May 2022

Ferrahian Doubles its Encino Campus Footprint

It is with great pride and excitement that the Holy Martyrs Ferrahian, Cabayan, Pilavjian School Board announces the expansion of the Ferrahian High School Encino campus through the purchase of the adjacent three-acre property. The acquisition of the parcel, owned previously by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was the product of unyielding determination, generous financial assistance, and fortuitous timing.

Immediately upon learning of the possible listing of the adjacent property, members of the School Board, with the prayers and blessings of Bishop Torkom Donoyan, Prelate of the Armenian Prelacy of Western America, established relations with representatives of the Mormon Church. Through countless meetings and crafty negotiations, our representatives were able to fend off aggressive offers by other religious groups and developers. Realizing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, one which would benefit the school and its community far beyond any monetary measure, our team ultimately secured the purchase.

With the new property, Ferrahian's potential for growth is limitless. The school can immediately utilize 11 new classrooms, a second indoor basketball court, several multi-purpose rooms, a large banquet hall, and ample parking. Naturally, this enables the school to offer new and state-of-the-art programs to its ever-increasing student body, including computer coding, drama, music, graphic arts and engineering. The new facilities will also expand the proud Armens athletic program, allowing for simultaneous events and the introduction of additional team and individual offerings for our student athletes.

Of course, all this would not have been possible without the unflinching generosity of members of our community. In addition to receiving a very sizeable donation from an anonymous philanthropist, the School Board has welcomed donations and other financial assistance from a wide array of individuals. Even with this support, however, the $14 million price tag creates significant financial needs. We therefore ask that all members of our community join in this momentous undertaking by participating in upcoming fundraising efforts.

The last two years have been tremendously difficult for Armenian communities worldwide. The effects of the pandemic and somber realities of Artsakh and Armenia have tested our faith and foundation. Land was lost, young soldiers and volunteers became martyrs, and a general sense of disillusionment took hold. During this time, all Armenian schools, along with their students, parents and staff, struggled. But with spring comes rebirth, and our community is once again on the rise. Enrollment at the Ferrahian/Cabayan/Pilavjian schools has reached record levels, students are smiling again, and the purchase of the adjacent property will no doubt usher in a new chapter of pride and purpose.

Ferrahian, the first Armenian day school in the country, is poised and prepared to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity, and will continue to provide the resources and guidance to have our students flourish and thrive. We hope you share in our excitement.

Principal’s Message:

This past year has challenged us like never before; yet as I reflect on what we’ve accomplished and how we’ve triumphed, I am amazed. Preschool through 12th grade has reached its all time highest enrollment number, surpassing 800 students. We have developed our Tech and Art programs to provide our students with the necessary knowledge for their educational endeavors. I want to thank my colleagues for their tremendous efforts, our students for staying positive amidst uncertainty, and our alumni and donors for their unwavering support.

To my dear Ferrahian Alumni, you are not only the fruit of the school’s manifesto, but also a part of an incredible network of over 2,400 people! You are a vital part of the Ferrahian Family and your relationship with your alma mater is lifelong. We encourage you to remain engaged with the school, your teachers, and fellow classmates in order to create stronger ties.

Happy reading and hope to see you all soon!

Sossi Shanlian

The most recent class of soon-to-be Ferrahian alumni had their senior retreat in mid March. The annual tradition takes place at the AYF Big Pines campsite, giving the seniors another opportunity to bond in their last few months at Ferrahian. Accompanied by devoted faculty members, including three dedicated Armenian teachers and their athletic coach, the students spend quality time with their instructors. It was these same teachers that during our time at Ferrahian, cultivated our cultural spirits, awakened the activism within us, and pushed us to perform at the height of our capabilities. Just as they were present to greet us years ago as young children starting our school years, they were now there to support us as we embark on the next chapter of our lives.

Upon arrival, our teachers planned activities to keep us all entertained, but by far the most thrilling moment was seeing the remaining snowfall on the campground. The first day was practically dedicated to sledding down hills and snowball fights. For those that regularly attend AYF Summer camp, it was a surreal experience to visit as a class, especially to a place where most had made priceless memories.

The daylight was filled with outdoor games and valuable educational lectures, the most impactful moments being when we collectively discussed our ideas and plans to continue fighting for our nation. The nights consisted of seniors gathered around a campfire with smores in hand, singing the folk songs we know like the back of our hand. Shoorch bar became a frequent activity at night, as we all danced to the songs so integral in our Armenian upbringing. We told our favorite stories and memories as the night progressed, and it’s safe to say our emotions got the best of us all.

Having grown up with one another, it was very special having the opportunity to look back on the good times we shared. We each found it hard to believe that we had such little time left, and we know we will miss Ferrahian, our second home, so dearly. Reflecting on the gratitude we shared for our school made us realize how fortunate we are to be raised in such a supportive, tight-knit community with a common passion for our country.

The senior retreat was two weekdays reminiscing the times of our early youth that we will soon miss at Ferrahian. Yet, we all share an intense eagerness to embark on our future endeavors strengthened by all that we have learned and experienced at Ferrahian. Thanks to our second home, we have a strong, solid platform to leap off of as we aim to continue making our Ferrahian family proud.

Alumni Spotlight:

Ani Voskertchian

As a lover of science, Ani Voskertchian serves as the Associate Director of the Clinical Research Office at the Children's Hospital of Los Angeles overseeing the Hematology Oncology research portfolio. Prior to moving back to LA, she was at The Johns Hopkins Hospital where she managed clinical trials examining infectious disease transmission and even studied COVID-19 and the vaccine in healthcare workers. She started her biomedical research career at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, after which she earned her Master’s Degree in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. Thinking back to her time at Ferrahian, Ani’s interest in science started in Biology class when doing lab experiments. She particularly treasures the friendships she’s made and keeps to this day.

Tania Voskertchian

As long as she remembers, Tania wanted to work in fashion as a buyer. After spending 12 years at Ferrahian, she attended UC Irvine, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations. At age 22, Tania made the best decision of moving to New York City to embark on her career in fashion. She joined the global merchandising team at Ralph Lauren. Years later, she joined AllSaints as the head of merchandising. In her most recent and rewarding move, she joined the TJX Companies buying for the European division. One of her most cherished memories at Ferrahian was the guidance she felt from her teachers, who truly cared about her growth as both a student and a young adult preparing for the world.