Home / News / Armenian Community School Looks Ahead-Part II

Armenian Community School Looks Ahead-Part II

Karen Karabian

The message has to get out pleaded Seth Attamian, principal of the Armenian   Community School.

Seth Attamian is on a mission. He has become a leader among parents. He has   become the voice of 110 Armenian children. Armenian children whose academic ability   compares with the finest students of Fresno and Clovis. But no one knows. No one has   spread the word.

So now one man has taken it upon himself to thrust his students into the academic   spotlight. In this small Armenian community a high value is placed on academics. And as   of yet, remarkably high test results have been ignored.

Attamian retrieves a bar graph which depicts the significant standing of his students   in such areas as math, science, reading, and writing. “These kids are intelligent,” said   Attamian who has spent a lifetime studying test scores.  They are taught to speak the Armenian language, and they are exposed to their   Armenian culture and heritage. At the same time they have risen above the average   expectations in academic testing, despite certain language barriers.   Unfortunately, the bar graph is kept inside a dark closet unknown to the scholastic   world, as is the level of sophistication and tenacity that these students possess.

“I don’t believe in doing something for banquets or pats on the back,” Attamian   said. He has proven himself and needs only to prove his point. These students can be as   successful academically as the they are in their Armenianess. Attamian has spent 38 years in education, and in those years Attamian broke one of   many barriers in this community by becoming the first Armenian principal in the Fresno   Unified School District.   “Growing up I would work and go to church on Sundays. I had no choice with   regards to education, there was  no school we could afford,” he said. Attamian is no   stranger to adversity. He has since fought to give his students the choices that he had been   denied.

Attamian resides in a quaint office inside the Armenian Community School, which   was once a church.  The small facility proudly wears its tattered fences and walls that have   visibly aged. The campus does not share in all the glamour of its fellow institutions.   However, “the plant does not guarantee educational success,” Attamian said.  In comparison the quality of teachers and curriculum is certainly commendable.   It is here that Attamian trains these teachers and their students never want for a mentor,   direction, or motivation.

Like every other elementary student these children race through their playground,   drag their coats, and rally around their parents at the end of the day. But unlike every other   elementary school, this Armenian community is a tight-knit family.               “There is a magnetism that draws us closer, me to them, them to me. We are   Armenian, we are bound by commonality,” said Attamian.   Attending the Armenian Community School is not a point of weakness for over 100   children, it is an unquestionable strength.  These students fail to lose their Armenianess, as   they learn to depend on a solid educational foundation to carry them through this   competitive world.

The Armenian Community School, the last of its kind in all the United States, has   seen graduates rise to the top of their classes, become people in high positions, and become   role models to be esteemed. The talent and accomplishments of such students can not be overshadowed any   longer. There exists unlimited academic potential within these walls. And Attamian has begun to spread the word.