Harout Gagulyan won't graduate from Hoover High School until 2005,
but the 16-year-old did graduate as a certified computer technician
from Mashdots College this weekend.
Harout started taking computer courses at Mashdots last summer
and, during his junior year of high school this year, he took enough
night classes in computer technology at Mashdots to earn a
certificate from the college.
Harout was one of 250 students to walk at Mashdots College's 2004
graduation ceremony Saturday at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 610 N.
Glendale Ave. Approximately 372 students were eligible to graduate
this year, but 60 graduated last semester and some graduates could
not or chose not to attend the graduation ceremony, officials said.
"I wanted to get started early," Harout said. "So I just went to
Hoover and Mashdots at the same time. I thought it would be good to
get ahead before I graduate from high school. I want to get into
business management eventually."
Mashdots College, which opened in 1992 in Glendale, is the only
four-year Armenian institution of higher education in the United
States. The independent, non-sectarian college offers undergraduate
degree programs in subjects like Armenian studies, bilingual teacher
education, computer science, early childhood education and 10 foreign
This year, the college added community service and leadership,
church service and leadership and computerized video editing to its
"This class is unique in that our students were born in 21
different countries," said Garbis Der-Yeghiayan, the college's
president. "But right away, from the beginning of the year, this
year's students bonded together as members of the same family."
The college's 2004 class, at 372 students, was its largest yet.
In 2003, 356 students graduated from the college. About 70% of
Saturday's graduates were women.
"When I entered the college, I just wanted to take one class in
Microsoft Word, but then I realized the first class was only the
beginning," said Arsho Petrossian, who received a certificate in
office management on Saturday. "I started taking more classes, and I
plan to take more in the fall. I respect them here. It's like a big
Armenian family here."
This year, Mashdots joined an international Internet university
program, one that allows students from around the world to take and
complete courses from Mashdots, Der-Yeghiayan said.
Mashdots also established sister university programs this year
with two universities in Armenia.
Mashdots plans to establish a branch school in Gyumri, Armenia,
next month. Gyumri falls within a recovery zone in an area that was
hit by a catastrophic earthquake in 1988.