Knowledge Day and the start of new academic year are marked on September 1 in Armenia’s border villages, just as in the rest of the country.
The border villages, however, have their peculiarities
The Armenian News-NEWS.am reporters visited such villages in Tavush Province, and they participated in the First [School] Bell celebrations in Aygepar village.
The village is noteworthy for the fact that two children, twin brothers Arshak and Artak Anikyan, will be going to Grade 1 this year.
Their father, Arman, is a graduate of the same school.
As per the twins’ mother, Hermine, the boys all summer long dreamed of when they finally will go to school.
Their younger brother, 4-year-old Aram, was following with interest, and stretching toward the school bag.
Even the shots that were regularly fired from Azerbaijan have not dampened the joyful enthusiasm accompanying the First Bell event.
I heartily wish patience to the teachers, and new knowledge to the children,” school principal Arev Arzumanyan said in her welcoming remarks. “[And] I wish peace to our village.”
The award ceremony for children who have excelled in their studies was held under the continuing sounds of sporadic shooting by the adversary. After the ceremony, however, the principal invited everyone inside the school building.
“It’s not safe here in the yard,” she explained.
The school, as well as the entire village, is under constant tension because of the border with neighboring Azerbaijan.
The school walls and windows bear the traces of shooting by the “neighbor.” “They practically fire shots every day, not only today,” the teachers responded when asked whether these shootings are linked to September 1. “Our schoolchildren, including the girls, can quickly disassemble and reassemble a rifle.”
“This year, the school had three graduates,” said Principal Arzumanyan. “One was accepted into an institution of higher education.”
There are two girls, Lilit Avagyan and Ani Arzumanyan, in the current graduating class of the school.
And they walked toward the symbolic first class, holding the hands of the twin first graders.
Another border village of Paravaqar has 28 first graders. The total number of students is 210, nine graduates of this school have entered universities. Angin Nighoyan, the principal of the school, says they are happy that the number of first graders has not reduced. Fourteen pupils are in the graduating class.
Angin Nighoyan has been working as a principle since 2001. Her son and daughter-in-law are also working at the school.
“Today is a double holiday. It is not only a professional, but a family day, because my eldest granddaughter is a first grader,” Angin says.
Paravaqr, just as many other border villages, are periodically becoming a target for the adversary. “There are no signs after repair works, but there were signs of the mortars before,” said Suren Bulgadaryan, Angin’s husband who is also working at the school.