Summer Conference Alumni Spotlight
Recently, the seminary embarked on a campaign to reconnect with summer conference alumni. We interviewed two alumni, Sara Andonian and her brother Paul Andonian, who are members of the St. John Armenian Church in Southfield, MI. Find out how St. Nersess has influenced their lives!
Question 1: What year/session did you first attend a St. Nersess Summer Conference?
Sara – My first experience at St. Nersess was a high school summer conference in 1981 in New Rochelle.
Paul – And I tagged along with her two years later in 1983 at a post high school conference.
Sara – Our mother had heard of the summer conferences when they were held near Chicago but never had the opportunity to visit. She encouraged us to attend.
Paul – We dropped Sara off for her second conference. Mom wanted to see the “new” St. Nersess in New Rochelle.
Sara – We each attended at least three to four conferences. My connection with St. Nersess continued after I became too mature (old) for the conferences. I was a counselor and a chaperone for many years for various conferences. I would escort the middle school and some high school participants to and from the seminary from St. John.
Question 2: Do you have children who have attended a Summer Conference?
Paul – I think Sara escorted one or two of my kids to St. Nersess. Three of my children have attended the middle school and high school conferences in the past.
Question 3: How did your St. Nersess experience help you become active in your local parish?
Paul – We are both very active in the St. John parish life. I am the new administrator for the parish and a member of the Men’s Society. We have both served on the parish council. We were able to take the knowledge that we gained and learned at the Summer Conferences and use them in our parish life.
Sara – I currently teach Church School and am on the Women’s Guild board. I use what we learned in my Church School classes. Attending St. Nersess played an important role in introducing us to all parts of stewardship and helped form who we are today.
Question 4: How have you stayed connected to or currently support the seminary?
Paul – Last fall, we had the opportunity to visit the seminary at its new campus in Armonk as part of a parish pilgrimage to the Diocese. We were impressed with the layout of the campus and the structures. It is a beautiful setting to educate our seminarians and to host the Summer Conferences for our youth.