Armenian Sisters Academy

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There are Armenian Sisters' Academy schools in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Armenian Sisters’ Academy is operated by the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception which was founded in Constantinople in 1847. The order is dedicated to the education of Armenian children worldwide. The Lexington school is one of the three schools run by the Sisters in North America. The others are in Philadelphia and Los Angeles.

The founder of the school, Sister Alphonsa Bedrosian, entered the United States in 1978 with faith, courage and an enormous vision. In 1979 she established a small educational pre-school center in Watertown. Encouraged by her success, she strove hard to expand the school. In 1982 in Lexington, MA, she found a campus, like a jewel nesting in the woods, that was the very epitome of her vision and there the Armenian Sisters’ Academy was founded. Through her diligence, the school program was expanded to include the middle school.

The school occupies two large buildings on beautifully landscaped acreage. It serves the needs of children of preschool age through the eighth grade. It is certified by the Lexington School System meeting local and state standards for education.

The Armenian Sisters’ Academy follows the curriculum guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Education. The school has also been accepted as a candidate for Accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) and is in the process of preparing for Accreditation by this prestigious association. The school’s curriculum also includes Armenian Language, History and Culture to enrich the educational experience of its Armenian and non-Armenian students.

The school is committed to ensure that students leave the Armenian Sisters’ Academy as ethical young men and women, who possess the integrity to become responsible citizens, with deep passion for learning.

Our graduates continue into High school and college, with a strong education, a sense of self, and respect towards their families and others. We are successful, because we have awakened each individual student’s gifts and talents, and motivated them to continue to learn and become responsible, and committed young adults.

Throughout the year, we receive commendations from private and public high schools where our students have journeyed. The commendations endorse that our students are excelling in their studies, and the individual student’s attitude towards learning is how this accomplishment is made.

Armenian Sisters' Academy Celebrates 30 Years of Academic Excellence

January 5, 2012

PRESS RELEASE Armenian Sisters' Academy Contact: Tsoleen Sarian Tel: 508-561-3697 Email:

BOSTON, MA: The Armenian Sisters' Academy (ASA) will celebrate three decades of academic excellence on Saturday, February 11th at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Armenia's First Ambassador to the US, and Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Rouben Shugarian will offer remarks during the evening's festivities. The ASA celebration will recognize and honor the accomplishments and successes of the school thanks to the gifted faculty and dedicated parents.

The Lexington, MA school fosters a sense of integrity, Armenian identity, passion for learning and strong citizenship through Christian values. Recent accreditation by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., along with small classroom size, ensure students receive an education second-to-none. Created by vision, faith and courage in 1982, the school has blossomed to a vibrant, thriving community that lifts and upholds these values far and wide. The 30-year milestone celebrates the fruits of these values demonstrated by the successes of the alumni who have passed through its halls.

The celebration also looks forward to the growth and future of the school. Open to all families, of all denominations, the ASA welcomes families to the acclaimed elementary school and nursery program, and offers an after school arts program and summer activities. With the success of 30 years, the future is bright for the cherished ASA.

Thanks to the generosity of numerous sponsors of the 30th anniversary celebration, proceeds will go towards scholarships and an endowment campaign to ensure the longevity and excellence of the school for generations to come.

For more on the 30th Anniversary Celebration, please contact the school directly at 781-861-8303. For further information about our upcoming open-house, admissions and the school mission and philosophy, please visit, or call 781-861-8303.

An Armenian school in Philadelphia fights to survive

April 04, 2012|By Kristin E. Holmes, Inquirer Staff Writer

Only 16 students walked through the door in 1967 when three nuns from Lebanon opened a school for Armenian youth in a Southwest Philadelphia house.

But the Armenian Sisters of the Immaculate Conception held fast to their mission. They taught classes, served lunches, and drove buses as 16 grew to 225, and the rowhouse eventually was replaced by a converted Radnor estate.

Thirty-five years after the first homework assignment was given, the Armenian Sisters Academy - one of about 15 Armenian day schools in the United States and the only one in the Philadelphia-South Jersey region - is facing the same enrollment and economic challenges confronting other schools.

Student enrollment is 135, down from 225 10 years ago. The pre-K-to-8 academy is faced with the dilemma of competing against good schools in the western suburbs at a time when parents are holding their purse strings more tightly.

"I'm concerned, but I'm hopeful that the school will grow," said Sister Emma Moussayan, the school's principal.

Future plans for the independent private school include boosting recruitment efforts, expanding fund-raising sources, and finding ways to help with transportation for students who live in neighborhoods where distance is an issue, said Asadur Minasian, chairman of the school's board.

In September, the school, whose pre-K grades utilize a Montessori approach, will start a day-care program for youngsters 11/2 to 21/2.

The school's mission is to educate Armenian American youth and to pass down Armenian culture, history, and language. About 90 percent of the students are of Armenian heritage.

Among the other 10 percent are the two children of William and Kathleen Dale, who live near the school, situated on hilly, wooded Upper Gulph Road.

William Dale, an architect, is taking weekly Armenian lessons so that he can help the children with homework.

"They have really embraced us," said Kathleen Dale, who added that their children had excelled at the school. "I plan to keep [my children] there. It can only help to have Armenian on your college application."

Students explore Armenian history, poetry, and literature, and observe special events including this month's weeklong commemoration of the 1915 mass killings of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.

Many families began immigrating to the United States after the start of persecution in the 1890s, said Gerard J. Libaridian, director of the Armenian studies program at the University of Michigan.

About 25,000 Armenian Americans reside in Philadelphia and South Jersey. Other population centers include Northern and Southern California, Boston, Detroit, and New York.

The first wave of Armenian day schools were founded in the early 1960s, Libaridian said. New immigrants sent their children to the schools. But as later generations assimilate into U.S. culture, the schools can continue to thrive in Armenian communities that are large and close-knit, Libaridian said.

In the last 10 years at least two Armenian day schools - in the Detroit and Boston areas - have closed, Libaridian said.

In Philadelphia, the population is stable as new immigrants continue to arrive, but residents are increasingly dispersed throughout the region, said Ara Chalian, chairman of the Armenian National Committee of Pennsylvania.

There are increasing rates of intermarriage, and some families are opting to send youngsters to Saturday and Sunday Armenian classes at schools affiliated with churches and youth organizations, said the Rev. Hakob Gevorgyan, pastor of Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in Cheltenham.

"It depends on the family," Gevorgyan said, "Some care. Some don't."

The parents, alumni, and teachers at the Armenian Sisters Academy care a lot.

Silva Santerian, a 1977 graduate, is the mother of three children who also graduated from the academy. When Santerian lived in Bucks County, she drove her children to the school, an hour each way.

"The academics are stellar, and the school instills a love of faith and culture," Santerian said.

Former teachers include Vartan Gregorian, former president of Brown University and current president of the Carnegie Corp. of New York.

As a student, Santerian learned French and religion from Sister Hripsime Tcheftelian, one of the school's founders.

"We sent out 2,000 letters to Armenian families," said Sister Hripsime, 85, as she recounted the school's start. "Five parents responded."

Over the years, enrollment grew and benefactors signed on. The board expanded to include members of five local Armenian churches, representing three different denominations. The school moved to Newtown Square and finally to the Radnor estate. An addition to the facility was built in 2004.

As the community considers the school's future, Chalian believes the academy is more important than ever.

"The school gives you a cultural identity that complements what you get in your American world," Chalian said. "Some people have to travel to get it. Here you can just go to the Armenian Sisters Academy."

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