BY ALEC MINASSIAN
MISSION HILLS, Calif.—After visiting the Ararat Home and Eskijian Museum, emotions ran high for Ferrahian High School 9th grade students. We were completely mesmerized by not only the rare Armenian cultural artifacts found at the museum, but also the warm, gracious hospitality of the elders at the Ararat home. After touring the grounds in its entirety and carefully admiring the beauty and craftsmanship of the relics in the museum, we, the students, were then escorted into a large, friendly dining hall, where small groups of elderly men and women were already waiting. The moment we walked into the hall, it was evident by the looks on their faces, that the men and women gathered there were genuinely elated to see us, and were patiently waiting for us to introduce ourselves, as the proud, young Armenian students we were.
We performed not just any routine, generic program, but rather, a variation of culturally driven, emotionally charged songs, poems, and dances. Throughout our performance, we saw many of the elderly men and women fighting back tears. Holding back tears was a challenge for many of us as well. At the end of our program, we were showered with heartfelt comments by the elderly residents. They stressed the importance of the youth to the future generations of Armenians. After sharing our thoughts, we were allowed to approach the kind, gracious men and women, and speak to them one on one, about topics such as future aspirations, personal backgrounds, and the protection of the rich Armenian language and culture.
Never had we experienced something of that emotional magnitude. My classmates and I were truly touched by the amount of respect and kindness we were granted by the elderly at the Ararat home. We could see in their eyes, how much our performance and mere presence meant to them. I am happy we were able to bring them such joy during these days leading up to the holidays.
Spending time with the sweet, caring people at the Ararat home, gave me a real sense of appreciation for our Armenian elderly community. I’m sure I speak on behalf of the entire 9th grade student body when I say that the men and women at the Ararat home gave us an emotional, loving and memorable experience that will forever be looked upon as something near and dear to our hearts. Some of the most valuable memories anyone can make, belong to the times we spend with people from an older, wiser generation.