Another Successful High School Summer Conference!
The highly anticipated and popular High School Summer Conference took place July 11 – 17, with teenagers representing nine parishes across the Eastern and Western Dioceses in attendance. They arrived on campus ready to embrace their faith and discuss important topics affecting them and the world. This summer, the conference was co-directed by Dn. Armen and Emily Terjimanian. Shant Danadian and Samantha Gostanian served as counselors.
Throughout the week, the participants took classes in Armenian language, enjoyed Sharagan lessons, and attended Bible Study sessions with video introductions from Diocesan leaders including, Fr. Yeprem Kelegian, Fr. Hovnan Demerjian of St. Hagop Church in Pinellas Park, FL, Dn. Alex Calikyan, and Dn. Eric Vozzy.
Each day, the participants enjoyed a different speaker on important faith topics, including: a Zoom panel discussion with St. Nersess graduates and former ACYOA Central Council members Dn. Daron Bolat, Maria Derderian, and Mallory Maslar; a presentation on the hymn Kohanamk by Rhonda Boyajian from St. Peter Armenian Church in Watervliet, NY; an interactive lecture on Sts. Thaddeus and Bartholomew by Dn. Adam Bullock, a 2022 seminary graduate, and his wife Jenna; and the Bible basics by Dn. Armen.
On Friday afternoon, Bishop Daniel Findikyan, former primate of the Eastern Diocese, visited with the participants and discussed the Building up the Body of Christ and gifted everyone a copy of his new book on this topic. He also dined with the participants and enjoyed interacting with them. That evening, the group had a movie night, watching the film “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” with an introduction by St. Nersess graduate, Andrew Kayaian.
During the afternoons, the students enjoyed free time in the Grace Jelalian and Paul Shahinian Recreation Complex playing ping-pong and pool or outside playing soccer, volleyball, and basketball. On Thursday, July 14, the participants traveled to the Jersey Shore for an afternoon beach day at Point Pleasant. Dn. Armen and Emily also led important discussions on the challenges that the participants are facing today, including current events.
“This year’s High School conference was a great success and the participants showed wonderful camaraderie with each other. I’m especially happy we could restart the tradition of going to the beach after a few years’ pause to give this generation of participants that experience,” shared Dn. Armen Terjimanian, a 2020 seminary graduate. “I could tell that our students really had a desire to deepen their faith and grow closer to God, and this made us very happy to help facilitate.”
There were tears when the high school students departed and promises that they would return next summer! Click here for more photos.