Ferrahian High School: a Shining Example of an Armenian Community in the USA
There is a school in the USA called Ferrahian High School, which attracts with its organization and presentability. This is a private school located in one of the safe neighborhoods of Los-Angeles. As it turned out, it has an interesting story and considered to the oldest Armenian general education institution.
The school is named after the lawyer Mateos Ferrahian, who bequeathed 300.000$ to build a bilingual Armenian school in the USA. His desire was put into effect thanks to the Armenian teacher from Kessab, Gabriyel Indzidzian. Nobody believed that in 1964 Indzidzian would open the first Armenian school in America. As he mentioned, he wanted to serve as an example for the Armenian community of the USA and wanted to show that it was possible. “ When I was in the USA, - writes Indzidzian, - I noticed that the Armenian children and adults have no opportunity to learn about their cultural heritage”.
Having returned to Syria, Indzidzian begins to seek for donations and finds the testament of Mateos Ferrahian, in which he was asking to build an Armenian school in the USA twenty five years after his death. Indzidzian won the case to manage the money and opened a school in the house used by the Armenian Holy Martyrs church in Ensino, a suburb of Los Angeles.
In September 1964, for the first time, the doors of the school were opened for 47 children. Today the institution, which is located in one of the most prosperous neighborhoods of Los Angeles, is the third largest Armenian institution in term of the number of students in California and more that thousand students have already graduated from it.
In addition to education in Armenian, students have the opportunity to visit numerous groups and sections, arrange meetings with significant Armenians. Moreover, the administration of the institution regularly sends its students to Armenia and Artsakh, thus children feel themselves as a part of Armenian culture and environment which contributes to the strengthening of the community.
The Ferrahian School comes to show that with the right approach, Armenian institutions can be exemplary and competitive around the world and give a quality education, not forgetting the native language and culture. Such schools should serve as an example, and it would be desirable that in different countries and continents not only beautiful churches be built, but also advanced secular schools be opened.