ANCA-Glendale’s 2019 Gala Honors Community Members, Organizations


GLENDALE—The Armenian National Committee of America – Glendale Chapter recently held its 2019 Award and Appreciation Gala. The purpose of the gala is to celebrate and highlight the work and achievements of distinguished individuals and local organizations that have made considerable contributions to the betterment of our community, and the City of Glendale.

The 2019 Gala was a success, with almost 400 guests in attendance, including Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, Glendale City Mayor Ara Najarian, Councilmembers Vartan Gharpetian, Paula Devine and Vrej Agajanian, City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian, Assistant City Manager Roubik Gholanian, department heads and numerous commissioners; representatives from the offices of Congressman Adam Schiff and Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger; Glendale Community College Superintendent and President Dr. David Viar, President of the Board of Trustees Dr. Vahe Peroomian and Trustees Dr. Armine Hacopian and Yvette Vartanian Davis; Glendale Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Vivian Ekchian, Board of Education President Jennifer Freemon, Vice President Dr. Armina Gharpetian, Board Clerk Shant Sahakian, Board members Gregory Kirkorian and Nayiri Nahabedian; Crescenta Valley Town Council President Harry Leon; Glendale Chief of Police Carl Povilaitis, officers of Police and Fire departments; representatives and leaders from cultural, philanthropic, educational and youth-oriented community-based organizations.

After standing for the Armenian and American national anthems, Western Primate Archbishop Hovnan Derderian delivered the invocation.

ANCA Glendale co-chairs Ronnie Gharibian and Lucy Petrosian delivered their speeches, afterward. “We are not alone. With us are all community organizations and individuals. We are growing. Our supporters are brave, and our annual galas and other events are meant to encourage our community members,” said event co-chair, Ronnie Gharibian.

Lucy Petrosian, co-chair, presented ANCA Glendale’s mission and annual activities in her speech. “Our efforts could not be possible without the help of our volunteers, supporters and generous donors. We thank them for their continued support,” she noted.

She also recognized and thanked ANCA Glendale Board members Seda Khojayan, Anet Tanik, Gaidzag Shahbazian, Lena Soghomonian, Hasmik Burushyan, and Community Outreach Coordinator Lusine Harutyunyan for their dedication and effort.

Following Petrosian’s remarks, those in attendance watched Congressman Adam Schiff’s video-message, addressed to the honorees and the ANCA Glendale Board.

Later, Senator Anthony Portantino delivered his speech: “We are here to celebrate. My love and respect to the humblest servant Fr. Vazken, as well as to all the honorees. Congratulations. I am honored and blessed to represent the best district in California. And tonight is a testament to youth organizations, educators, spiritual leaders, and the press. Every part of what makes this community vibrant and exciting, and powerful and positive, has been recognized tonight. On behalf of the California State Senate, I want to say congratulations to everyone.”

The ANCA Glendale Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Archpriest Vazken Atmajian for the exemplary contributions he has made towards the enrichment of our community throughout his lifetime and his dedication to public service. Born in 1965 in Beirut, Lebanon Archpriest Vazken Atmajian is dedicated to serving the Armenian community. Upon his ordainment as a priest, he served the local St. Garabed Armenian Apostolic Church from 1993 to May of 1999 and, since 1999, has served St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church of Glendale. In addition to his work as a reverend, Archpriest Atmajian accepted teaching positions for Religion and Ethics at Rose and Alex Pilibos and Vahan & Anoush Chamlian Armenian Schools and taught countless life lessons, morals, values, and an Armenian, Christian way of life to hundreds of students over the years.

Archpriest Atmajian has a close partnership with Armenian and non-Armenian organizations, associations, and institutions in Glendale, and has been dedicated to improving the social and spiritual life of his region’s administrative and spiritual realms. For him, there is no measure to a task; there is only wholehearted service. It is with this awareness that Archpriest Atmajian works in the Glendale Region and attempts to satisfy all those who seek him the most. He has become a beacon of hope to many through his kindness and genuine willingness to help others.

The Armenian Youth Association of California was awarded the ANCA Glendale Woodrow Wilson Public Service Award for its dedication in serving the public and going above and beyond the call of duty to promote democracy and social equality in Glendale. Its mission is to promote Armenian culture and values related to literacy, dance, recreational opportunities, and programming that caters to youth, young adults, and the older adult population.

The AYAC gives back to the community it serves by promoting democracy and social equality, by providing annual scholarship opportunities for youth, coordinating clothing drives during emergencies, hosting Red Cross blood drives, preparing meals for homeless shelter clients, using the AYAC facility as a Voting Place, scheduling lectures that discuss the importance of social equality, and additional social services relief measures.

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The ANCA Glendale Maria Jacobsen Humanitarian Award was presented to YWCA Glendale for its devotion to the welfare of humanity by working to eliminate the suffering of the less fortunate throughout the United States.

YWCA Glendale is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all. Its purpose is to ensure the health, safety, and economic empowerment of women, children and families, and to strengthen communities to both prevent and break the cycle of domestic violence. The organization’s largest program provides services to domestic violence survivors and their children (emergency shelter, legal support, case management, therapy, children’s services and more). Its second-largest program provides education and training to youth, educators and youth-serving professionals to prevent domestic violence. YWCA Glendale has a bold vision to end the culture of violence, starting with our community. Funds raised allow it to develop the programs that bring all parts of the community together to have conversations around bystander intervention, violence in schools, and healthy relationships so that all girls and women can achieve self-sufficiency and live free from violence.

The ANCA Glendale Hye Tahd Award was presented to Asbarez Daily Newspaper for its exemplary dedication, unwavering support and selfless contribution to the Armenian Cause, and the betterment of the Armenian-American community in Glendale. Asbarez primarily serves the more than 500,000-strong Armenian-American community in the Western U.S. It is the only bilingual daily newspaper in the country, publishing five times a week – Tuesday through Saturday – with a print English section featured in the Saturday edition.

Throughout the years, Asbarez has covered the tragedy of the Armenian Genocide, the triumph of the first Independent Republic, the growing pains of a community, the catastrophic earthquake, the fall of the Soviet Union, the Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) liberation struggle, which gave way to the independent Artsakh Republic, and the ever-changing reality of the people of Javakhk in southern Georgia. For almost a century, Asbarez has provided news and information, while simultaneously mobilizing communities to work with the ANCA and counter Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide. The daily newspaper has created a space – an arena – that many turn to for commentary, criticism, and thought.

Lena Kortoshian was awarded the ANCA Glendale Community Service Award for her dedication to raising the quality of life within our community, as well as her selfless contribution and service to the ongoing welfare of the community-at-large.

Lena Kortoshian is an award-winning Principal at Clark Magnet High School, a Science and Technology Magnet school in La Crescenta, California. After many years of service in the Glendale Unified School District and as Principal of Clark since 2016, Kortoshian has continued her role as a resilient leader in the community. In 2017, she was honored with the “Woman of the Year” award presented by Congressman Adam Schiff. She also received a Character and Ethics award in 2019. Kortoshian has led Clark into becoming a “Distinguished School,” a “Gold Ribbon School,” a “Green Ribbon School,” a “CTE Exemplary Program,” an “Honor Roll School,” and in the top 2.67 percent in the nation as “Best High School.” Kortoshian has continued her service as a Board of Regents member for the Armenian Prelacy Schools for over three years. Kortoshian’s mission is to build and support a student-centered school where students’ voices are heard, and exemplary education is guaranteed. She is recognized for her ceaseless effort and dedication. When asked what her most memorable moments have been in her long career, Kortoshian said, “When students and parents return and share their success stories. This is, after all, what it is all about.”

The ANCA Glendale Youth Activist Award was presented to California State University, Northridge student Nicholetta Sarkissian for her commendable leadership, extensive record of activism, and active engagement in both the community and classroom.

Nicholetta Sarkissian is a 19-year-old student studying biology at CSUN, with future plans to pursue pharmacy in the mental health field. She previously attended Clark Magnet High School and was involved in various clubs including Armenian Club, Philanthropy Club, Neurosociety Club, and Animal Awareness Club. Nicholetta was also an avid member of the California Scholarship Federation, through which she tutored other peers. She has held several volunteer positions and has participated in different organizations that have allowed her to impact her community. Nicholetta has been an active member of the Glendale “Roupen” Armenian Youth Federation Chapter for three years, and currently serves as the Chair of the Public Relations Committee. Additionally, she participates in the social committee, outreach committee, and juniors committee. Nicholetta also volunteers frequently as a counselor at AYF Camp for the juniors. As a member of the AYF, she works hard to strive to gain a better understanding of the advancement of Armenian youth and to play a leading role to preserve Armenian culture. Along with her activism in the AYF, she is also a young Armenian activist on her campus. She serves on the board of CSUN’s Armenian Student Association, as the Social Media Director.

The honorees were awarded ANCA Glendale 2019 Gala award plaques and gifts, as well as certificates from the offices of Congressman Adam Schiff, Senator Anthony Portantino, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, and LA County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

ANCA Glendale advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s Armenian American community and promotes increased civic participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.