Los Angeles, CA – 6 years ago the All-ASA began an exploratory endeavor with OneArmenia called the Tri-Colored Graduation Cord initiative, which aimed to strengthen the honey industry in Armenia; since then, while working with Teach For Armenia fellows, the initiative has transformed into a concurrent effort to raise the standards of learning of Armenian grade school students in the Medovka and Kruglaya Shishka areas near Tashir. With a cultural center in production, there are plans to expand these needed educational tools to surrounding areas and beyond.
The manifestation of the initiative is largely owed to Khachig Joukhajian, a Teach for Armenia Fellow, Shant Student Association member, and All-ASA Alumni. In 2016. After spending two years teaching in Medovka, Khachig conceptualized the Tri-Colored Chord Initiative and in alliance with the school’s Principal Susanna Avdalyan and Caretaker Gagik Dalaloyan advised much of the early history of renovations to the school. In the summer of 2019 former All-ASA president and current Senior Advisor, Ripsime Biyazyan traveled to Medovka to plan with Misak Martirosyan, also a Teach for Armenian Fellow, to update the classroom with laptops and other crucial learning peripherals. Misak has since then hand-delivered cords from Armenia when coming to visit his colleagues in Los Angeles many times over the years, including this year helping to save more in logistics and to ensure the funds are efficiently and fully utilized for the students. This year we have acquired the addition of tri-colored stoles which will complete the accouterments for graduation.
The graduation cords are made in Armenia by local artists turned manufacturers in Dilijan whose generous efforts allowed participating organizations to fund the infrastructure for the production of honey, a fence around the local female soccer team’s field, renovations and maintenance to the school, an indoor gymnasium to practice physical education during the frigid winters, a dedicated microbus to transport students have to walk in some cases 5km to make it to school, indispensable classroom tech upgrades and now with plans to build a cultural center on the school premises.
Since 2016 $15,000 in funds have been raised and reinvested into philanthropy due to cord sales, the annual All-ASA seasonal events, as well as schools like Marshall Fundamental High School, who have made large contributions by buying large quantities of cords for their graduating students. It is our shared appreciation for our education and heritage that have secured the Tri-Colored Chord Initiative for years to come with stoles now on the catalog.
As for the future, besides the secured funds for the cultural center, Teach for Armenia Alumni Misak Martirosyan is working to expand the scope of this initiative to 220 potential schools in Armenia that greatly need the level of renovation and support rendered to the students in Medovka. We look forward to our continuing partnership with Teach For Armenia and Misak and together look forward to securing the education for students to the standards of the 21st century.
The All-Armenian Student Association works to unite various Armenian-American college student organizations and serve the greater Armenian-American community through cultural, social, educational, and activist programming. As the largest confederation of ASAs in the nation, All-ASA is dedicated to collaboration among its constituent organizations, the leadership development of its members, and the virtues of community service. Consider purchasing chords and stoles for your loved ones or consider donating to the All-ASA through our website.