Young benefactors with generous hearts
When everyone is a participant, not merely a spectatorCertainly one can find benefactors everywhere. I have met many of them through my work. Yet there is a group of benefactors, consisting of very young girls and boys, whom I met for the first time only recently, on April 23, during a wonderful event at Yerevan’s No. 56 School. That’s when I came to believe, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that one day all the issues we presently face as a nation will be a distant memory, that our future will turn out as bright and beautiful as these youngsters.
For years the No. 56 School has organized various events throughout the month of April, seeking to help students develop a deeper appreciation for our history, culture, and traditions as well as their eminent place within the larger legacy of world culture.
Of particular significance among the school’s April events is a commemoration held during the early part of the day on April 23, in honor of the victims of the Genocide. Traditionally the program starts with a fundraising event known as National Giving and concludes with a visit to the Genocide Memorial at Tsitsernakaberd. Also on April 23, donations made by the students are tallied, the total is announced at the end of the event, and the very same day a group of students and teachers presents the raised funds to the Hayastan All-Armenian Fund. Thus, for the past 14 years, the student body and staff of the No. 56 School have actively contributed to the success of the fund’s projects.
Fifth-grader Mariana is not only knowledgeable about the fund’s work but mentions, with evident pride, the name of the student on whose suggestion the school launched the National-Giving tradition 14 years ago. That student, who was in the tenth grade then, is none other than Mariana’s mother. Today she is joined by all the other school parents in encouraging their children to put aside money from their breakfast or candy allowances in order to start building a beautiful future of their own.
I did not get a chance to inquire as to why the school had decided to hold the National-Giving event on the very day that the students commemorate the Genocide. It is perhaps because our tens of thousands of martyrs, who could have built roads and schools, thereby bequeathing to us a better homeland, were prevented by their executioners from doing so, and now it is up to us to complete what was left unfinished. Or perhaps, simply, it is because in 1996 the school had called to life the following motto:
Place one of the two flowers at the Genocide Memorial;
Donate the money for the second flower as your national due…
The school day on April 23 was particularly vibrant and colorful, as everyone gathered at the hall was not a mere spectator but a genuine participant.
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