American Academy Nicosia

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AGBU Press Office
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Wednesday, January 25, 2006


With back-to-school jitters long behind them, former AGBU Melkonian Educational Institute (MEI) students have embraced their new school, the American Academy Nicosia, with spirit, enthusiasm and optimism. With the support of AGBU and the American Academy, the students are acclimating well to campus life, excelling academically and personally, forging new relationships with peers, faculty and administration.

After thoroughly researching the options available in Nicosia, AGBU selected the American Academy Nicosia for the 79 pupils from Armenia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Iran, Lebanon, Romania, Russia and Spain who elected to attend, representing 70 percent of the former MEI student body. The remaining MEI students alternatively elected schools that were closer to home or offered curricula that met their personal academic needs.

Established in 1922, the American Academy Nicosia is a coeducational private school, which provides high quality instruction to over 200 students from kindergarten to high school, equipping them with the academic and intellectual skills needed to reach their full potential and succeed in life.

Subsidizing the cost of tuition, housing and meals for students, AGBU worked closely with the American Academy to develop a comprehensive program to also support the students academically and personally during this transition. In addition, AGBU renovated MEI facilities to create a Residence Hall and Club for 46 boarding students; arranged for daily transportation to and from the American Academy; and contracted for the best in medical care.

"The atmosphere there [at the American Academy] and the enthusiasm with which we were accepted as equals have most greatly influenced us. Overall, the experiences provided for us these past few months have been exhilarating," stated former MEI student Martin Sirakov, Residence Hall Advisory Council Chairman, in a letter addressed to AGBU. "Furthermore, we would like to draw attention to the subsidies AGBU has generously provided for the financially disadvantaged...Finally, let us state once more our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for everything you have provided."

Serving as an important extension of the classroom and campus, the students residing in the newly renovated AGBU Residence Hall now have at their disposal dedicated Computer and Recreation Rooms. Equipped with eight computers, the Computer Room is a quiet setting where students can study and focus on learning. After school and on weekends, the Recreation Room is an area of relaxation furnished with satellite TVs, which receive broadcasts from Armenia and each of the students' home countries.

Recently refurbished, the spacious AGBU Club, where students dine, also serves as a classroom for their schooling in Armenian language, history and culture. Five days a week, students benefit from a blended learning approach of Armenian coursework, drama workshops, reading groups and lectures with guest speakers. A welcome addition to the diverse student population at the American Academy, the students organized a special cultural program during a school assembly to commemorate Armenian Independence Day.

With a five-person Residence Hall staff, three tutors and two Armenian teachers, the students are showered with continuous care and attention on academic and personal matters. The Residence Hall staff meets with the American Academy Director of Administration weekly to discuss student concerns and services, as well as their growth and development. In a nurturing environment, the students are encouraged to develop leadership skills by assuming key roles in the governance structure of the Residence Hall: the student-run Advisory Council and the Ombudsmen Committee.

Extremely active in extra-curricular and community service activities, the students also receive a well-rounded experience through off-campus excursions planned by AGBU. With the activities chosen by the students, AGBU kicked off the year with a trip to a popular seaside resort, followed by an outing to an exhibit of artwork by young, emerging Spanish artists. Taking the initiative, the students organized an evening of fun and camaraderie for their American Academy peers and faculty at the AGBU Club to foster good fellowship and deepen ties with their new community. Also well integrated with the local Armenian community, the students regularly attend nearby Armenian cultural activities.

"When the Armenian students who had formerly attended AGBU MEI first came to the American Academy, I was not sure how they would adjust to their new school and the multiethnic nature of the student body. I can honestly say that I was pleased to see their cooperative spirit, desire to become a part of campus life and a willingness to put the past behind them and move on with their education," said Dr. Joe Worsham, American Academy Principal. "Many immediately made new friends, became a part of the Student Council, joined the Model UN Program and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards program. Their serious approach to their classes and their interest in the opportunities that the American Academy provides has impressed all of our teachers and staff. Although they miss their old school, they are accepting of the change and enjoying their new school. These new students have added much to the culture and diversity of the school and have made it a better learning place for everyone. I look forward to the remainder of the school year and the new ideas that our Armenian students bring to the campus."

Established in 1906, the Armenian General Benevolent Union (AGBU) is the world's largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural and humanitarian programs, annually serving some 400,000 Armenians in 35 countries.

For more information on AGBU, please visit