Life and Arts

On the Town: Glendale schools supporters have roaring good time at gala

All dressed up as roaring ‘20s flappers are, from left, Monica Sierra, Miryam Finkelberg and guest Mercy Velasquez.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

“A Roaring 20s Gala!” announced the invitation to the Glendale Educational Foundation’s 13th Annual Gala Dinner and Dance. On a chilly Friday night in Glendale some 300 supporters, many in 1920s garb, stormed the entrance to the Glen Arden Club — the current go-to venue for some of Glendale’s swankiest parties.

“Diamonds and Pearls” is the theme of each annual Foundation event. The “diamonds” are the Diamond Award honorees. Distinguished Achievement in the Arts at the March 6 gala went to Jennifer Berry, playwright and director; Distinguished Achievement in Science and Technology was won by Marineh Tchakerian, ServiceTitan manager and co-founder and chief executive of Harsanik for Armenian weddings; the Premier Rose Diamond Award was given to Peter Navolanic, family practice physician; and the Hope Diamond Award went to Ani Zadorian, senior manager at JLK Rosenberger accounting firm. All honorees are graduates of Glendale high schools.

The “Pearl” was to be drawn toward the end of the evening. One opportunity ticket cost $50. Three tickets went for $100.

Mistress of Ceremonies and TV personality Jill Simonian ran the show. She recognized state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman. Then Simonian introduced the education VIPs including Marvel Ford, Foundation president; Dr. Vivian Ekchian, Glendale Unified School District superintendent; and Jennifer Freemon, GUSD Board of Education president. Also present were board member Greg Krikorian and former members Mary Boger, Chuck Sambar, Lina Harper and Pam Ellis.


According to Freemon, “The foundation has raised $3.4 million since 2005 and $37,000 in grant funds have been given to teachers in the last two years.”

Diamonds and Pearls honoree Marineh Tchakerian is a ServiceTitan manager and Armenian wedding planner extraordinaire.
(Ruth Sowby Rands)

Foundation Honor Roll Director Eddie Tufenkjian announced the Honor Roll goal in which 20 foundation members donate $20 each month in 2020. “That’s 20 and 20 in 2020,” he reminded. The larger goal would be 500 Foundation Honor Roll members donating $20 per month. That would raise $120,000 per year for Glendale students in the visual and performing arts, science and technology, and health and fitness.

The evening’s program continued with the recognition of the Diamond Award honorees and pearl necklace drawing. Robin Goldsworthy, Crescenta Valley Weekly publisher, was the lucky winner. Toni Espinoza, senior vice president at Certified Financial Planner, presented Goldsworthy with the necklace.


Dinner was then served. Surf and turf fit the bill.

Congratulations go to the gala planning committee headed by Vrejh Hovsepian, event chairman. Committee members are Ford, Eric Hamilton, Susan Hunt, Mineh Petrosian, Karen Swan, Sona Tatiyants and Joylene Wagner.

The Awards Committee was a one man show in Robert Gordon.

Foundation officers are Ford, president; Eric Schirding, first vice president; Pam Sorem, second vice president; Wagner, secretary; Q Banjai, treasurer and Hamilton, past president.

Petrosian is executive director. Her administrative assistant is Nancy MacNair. Founding officers are Chip Stone, John Sadd, Phil Rapa and Bret Fausett.

The Glendale Educational Foundation generates funds to enrich and enhance the educational programs and projects of the Glendale Unified School District.

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