For over twenty years, parents had to drive to the corner of Fresno and Weldon streets to take their children to the Armenian Community School of Fresno (ACSF). This year, however, the school moved to a more convenient location at the corner of Olive and Wishon streets in the Tower District.
This move was very much needed by the school. The administration, teachers, and students feel that the move was a positive one. When the opportunity arose, the administration decided to take advantage of it. The new location is the former campus of St. Therese Parochial School that closed in the 1980’s. Even though the Armenian Community School plans to build a permanent campus on property that was donated several years ago, a better facility in a more secure area was needed immediately.
The Weldon site was the school’s second location since its inception in 1976, when it opened its doors in the basement of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church on Ventura & “M” Streets. The old school on Weldon had previously been a church, so it was not well suited to be a school campus. For many years, the Weldon facility served its purpose. Often, however, much work was needed to keep up with proper maintenance. Parents and friends generously volunteered their time and materials over the years in order to maintain the old building. It was not uncommon to see Mr. Seth Atamian, the Superintendent/Principal of the school, with his wrench and hammer doing some type of maintenance work.
The opportunity to lease the new site came up during the latter part of last school year when a representative of the Catholic Diocese of Fresno approached the building committee. Realizing this was a good opportunity, the Principal and the Board of Education felt that the school would benefit from the move, until the building of the permanent school site some time in the future. During the summer, Board members Bryan Bedrosian and Barrett Arakelian oversaw the project and had the contents of the school moved over to the new building.
Secure fencing and buildings surround the property. One enters the premises through a courtyard. On the left side are administration offices and a small hall for morning assembly and to the right of the administration building, are most of the classrooms, both on the lower and upper levels. To the left of the administration building is St. Therese Church. There is also a small building on the property that is now the Pre-Kindergarten class. The only problem both parents and the school personnel talk about is the fact that the play area is across the street from the school; however, they are managing the situation well.
One of the teachers, Lucine Varjabedian, who teaches Armenian to the children, feels very much at home there. “Teaching is a little easier here,” she says. She is from Los Angeles and this school site reminds her of the Mesrobian School, where she taught for many years prior to moving to Fresno.
The neighbors, too, are glad to have a new tenant. Some of the comments made by neighbors are, “It’s about time children came back to this facility and neighborhood.” “It’s great to have school activity around here.” “The Tower District can only benefit from the move of the school.”
Congratulations to the school for a fine decision to relocate. Principal Seth Atamian says, “We are very fortunate to be here in this well established, resourceful and safe neighborhood.” I know that many parents feel the same.