Posted 28 February 2005
The Armenian College, one of the oldest Armenian schools in the world, was established on April 2, 1821 in
Since lot has been said lately about the mismanagement of the Community affairs in
Armen Lucas, an ex-pupil writes about his impressions after paying a visit to his beloved old time School:
Our visit to the Armenian College:
We, all 4 of us visited Mrs. Sonia John, strictly by appointment, at the Armenian College. We had a firm appointment, and were initially asked to wait at the gate by the Chaprasees. We were finally shown in to the big office, shared by Mrs. Sonia John and her secretary, Coleen Blanche. The interview took 3.5 hours, and we asked ALL the questions which you had asked us to put to her.
I will first report on the Q and A, and then will put forward our views. Our kids, Karineh, aged 20 and Stefan, aged 17 were also present during the interview, but they left half way through to go and talk to the Hye kids, and play basketball with them, and visit their dormitories, etc. They enjoyed their tour of the school, and the kids also enjoyed meeting the 2 strangers from
1. I asked about the teaching staff, and was told that they only had 3 Armenian staff, from Hayastan. There were also a few Indian teachers. During the last 2 older classes the kids had to attend an
2. Sports: The kids had sports organised normally every afternoon, and also had an official Sports Day, when prizes were given and special food was organised for them.
3. I asked for OLD photos for sports dating back to your time, but these were not made available to me. There were school almanacs, but it was difficult to dig out the info.
4. The current student body consisted of: 60% Hayastansis, and 40% Parskahays. Sonia John informed us that the kids were allowed to return to their respective countries once EVERY 3 YEARS. Most kids, she alleged had come from broken and poor homes, and a few had returned to the School very disturbed after visiting their families…
5. No class photos were made available to us. We did however take a lot of photos ourselves, and these will be forwarded to you via the internet shortly.
6. The school appeared to be run efficiently, in a very strict manner. Discipline is considered very important, and no unruly behaviour of any kind is tolerated. The kids appeared to be, looking from the outside, perfectly happy, but remember, we were only there for a total of 4 hours.
7. The current Principal could be considered to be Sonia John, but the Head master is an Indian guy. An ex. student called Michael J. Stephen is the Asst. manager, and he was very helpful to us.
Our views: We had a visit by Arsham Sookias every morning for breakfast at our hotel; he seems to be a really decent chap…quite harmless. We also met Haik Sookias at the
Sonia also alleged that she had had a lot of interference and malicious gossip from an old boy called Galstaun, who lived in
All in all, we considered this extraordinary situation as being very unfortunate for the students, and not at all beneficial to the small community.
I questioned Sonia about the various accusations of her squandering Armenian Church money to Indian charities, and associations, and she freely admitted that she had done so, but gave her reasons that she thought it wise to give money back to
All the kids were given Rs. 1500 each every X'mas for shopping money. Sonia considered the security of the school as being very important, and nobody was allowed IN or OUT of the school without her express permission.