SHERMAN OAKS, CALIF. – The C. & E. Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School will bestow the esteemed Excellence in Teaching Award to Mrs. Suzy Bardakjian, a dedicated educator with a longstanding commitment to Merdinian, whose dedication has left an indelible mark on generations of alumni. The award will be presented at the school’s Gala on Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 6:00 p.m. at the Jonathan Club, located at 545 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, CA 90071.
Having moved from Lebanon at the age of 17, Mrs. Bardakjian embarked on her educational path at LA City College. Her academic journey took her through Business and English courses, but in Psychology and Child Development classes, she discovered her passion and wanted to become a teacher. After completing her courses in 1983, she learned about the newly established C. & E. Merdinian Armenian Evangelical School through Zaven Khanjian, the current Executive Director of AMAA. She patiently waited for a year until the school had more students before starting her tenure. Since then, she has taught several grade levels and subjects.
Her favorite time of the day is the chapel hours at Merdinian, which she said: “sets Merdinian apart from other schools and puts great emphasis on the importance of faith in the school curriculum.” Her educational philosophy centers on character building, incorporating lessons inspired by the traits of Jesus into her teaching.
As a dedicated educator, Mrs. Bardakjian finds inspiration in those around her, constantly exploring new learning strategies that she can incorporate into those who are in the class. Her passion for teaching extends to her own family, as she has had the privilege of teaching her daughter, son, nieces, nephews, great-nephews, and now, her first grandchild as a student. Over the years, it has brought her great joy to learn how her students have become successful professionals who still value their relationship with God and continue contributing to bettering their church, school, community, and homeland.
One of the most poignant moments in Mrs. Bardakjian's teaching career occurs every year during graduation. Although Merdinian School does not have a high school, she experiences mixed emotions as she sees her students transition to other educational institutions. While it marks a departure from Merdinian, she takes joy in knowing that a part of them will carry the essence of Merdinian. This bittersweet moment is also a source of happiness for Mrs. Bardakjian, as she believes that these graduates will go on to inspire others, taking a piece of Merdinian's values and teachings into the wider world.
“We are excited to honor Mrs. Suzy with this well-deserved accolade for her work and continued efforts to educate and inspire generations of Armenians and her unwavering commitment to instilling the principles of compassion, faith, and lifelong learning in the hearts of our students,” said Nerses Aposhian, Chairman of the Merdinian School Board, who was a former student of Mrs. Bardakjian’s and her nephew. “The Excellence in Teaching Award is a well-deserved acknowledgment of her dedication and passion for the field, but also to honor her integral role in the Merdinian legacy,” he continued.
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