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Armenian teacher exchange brings Watertown photo project to South Hamilton school

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  December 28, 2012 11:33 AM

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Armenian community members from all over the state are collaborating to bring their culture to the forefront of a South Hamilton school in January and February by hosting teachers from Armenia, displaying culturally significant exhibits, and putting together an assembly on the country that is open to the public.

Two teachers from Armenia will visit the Pingree School in South Hamilton in early February as part of the first exchange between an American independent school and an Armenian school.

Following the visit of the Armenian teachers, Pingree's Director of Multicultural Education Trina Gary and English teacher Michelle Ramadan will travel to Armenia to visit a school there in March.

The teachers visiting from Armenia and those from Pingree will spend time in each other's classrooms with students and faculty, sharing culture, history, teaching methods, philosophies of education, and more for close to two weeks.

The exchange was facilitated by Jack and Eva Medzorian of Winchester, who worked with the staff and administration of Pingree School on the project.

In addition to the teacher swap, Pingree will feature Armenian exhibits around the school, including photographs from Project SAVE Armenian Photographic Archives in Watertown. These photographs represent life in Armenia before and after 1915, as well as Armenian-American life in the United States.

The library will also host several fiction and non-fiction Armenian books from the private collection of John Soursourian of Beverly, whose wife works at Pingree. Soursourian's father was born in Armenia when it was part of the Ottoman Empire, the school said.

The school will also set up a display in the main lobby's cabinet with Armenian objects on loan from the Medzorians' private collection, including jewelry, carved and ceramic vases and bowls, dolls, miniature models of churches and musical instruments, handmade lace, and other items.

School officials will also host an assembly on January 10, where Ruth Thomasian of Project SAVE of Watertown will present the organization's photographs, discussing their significance and the power of seeking and discovering one's family roots.

Her presentation will be followed by a film trailer screening by Nubar and Abby Alexanian of Gloucester, who have traveled to old Armenia to document their family roots. They will also talk about their venture and goals, the school said. Nubar is a renowned photographer whose work has appeared in many books and periodicals including National Geographic magazine.

Members of the community are invited to view exhibits and attend the 9 a.m. assembly on January 10.

For more information, call the school at 978-468-4415.

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Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com

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