For a little over three weeks, Glendale Community College student David Khechumyan weighed the value of a pledge over the promise of his future.
The Burbank High School graduate had won the college’s student-body presidency, a position he coveted and campaigned for. Not long after, Khechumyan was informed he had been accepted to USC, which had been a childhood aspiration.
So, the Burbank resident was left with a fundamental question heading into the fall: Should he stay or should he go?
“I was torn and was going back and forth between what I should do,” Khechumyan said. “I didn’t know, and it was really tough. I talked to a lot of people on campus. Even though I could do a lot here, my future is at USC and it’s not a guarantee that I would be accepted again.”
On July 18, Khechumyan officially stepped down as student-body president and trustee less than two months after winning the election with 994 votes in late May.
The sophomore will be replaced by fellow student William Melikyan.
“We have policies of succession that govern what happens should a president step down,” said Andre Manukyan, the college’s student activities coordinator. “This isn’t something brand new, and it’s happened at other times. I wish David the best at USC.”
Khechumyan was present at the last two Glendale Community College board meetings but for different reasons.
On June 19, David Viar, the college’s president/superintendent, swore in Khechumyan in the final board meeting of the 2017-18 school year.
At the first meeting of the 2018-19 school year on July 18, Khechumyan announced the end of his short tenure, which drew comments of support and a snicker.
Khechumyan said he was relieved by the trustees’ responses.
“Congratulations, and you have it on your resume that you were a trustee?” quipped Ann H. Ransford, board president, during the meeting.
“All of them were very, very supportive when I talked to them,” Khechumyan said. “They all knew ahead of time, and they told me, ‘It’s your future, you have to get started.’ The amount of support that I got for my decision was great, and they said they were proud of me. Now, I’m ready to go.”
Of course, the path to USC is not all cardinal-and-gold-colored roses.
Khechumyan has spent much of his time since stepping down looking for work to help pay for his dream.
Khechumyan has no financial aid and little in terms of scholarship money for USC, which costs $55,320 annually, according to school figures, not including books and supplies, housing, fees and transportation.
“I wasn’t sure how much money I’d need for a private school and, when I saw the price, I started looking at my options,” Khechumyan said.
The 20-year-old didn’t believe he would be accepted to USC when he applied in February and thought the documentation process would provide excellent experience for the following year.
Khechumyan, a member of the Glendale Community College student government since the 2016-17 school year, decided to run for president in the meantime.
“I wasn’t sure I would get in,” Khechumyan said of his USC application. “I’ve always been an advocate of student government, and I was actually the vice president of relations [before]. I wanted to become president and student trustee.”
According to Khechumyan, USC asked for additional grades and paperwork in April. On June 26, Khechumyan received a letter of acceptance from USC that was surprising and exhilarating. A decision had to be made.
“Since I was a kid, I’ve always said I want to stay close to home when I went to college, and it would be UCLA or USC,” Khechumyan said. “I was leaning toward UCLA until I went to visit USC’s campus and I loved it. When I left, I said this was going to be my school, and I would do anything to come here.”