Educational and academic programs have always had an important place within the agenda of Hamazkayin Cultural Association. Merely two years after the Association was founded– on March 3, 1930– the Armenian Lyceum (Djemaran) opened its doors to 15 students in a rented building on the Kantari Street in Beirut. In fall 1930, the number of enrolled students rose to 63.
The goal of the Armenian Lyceum (Djemaran) was to furnish upcoming Armenian generations with a sound general knowledge, but most importantly, with a solid Armenian education. Its aim was also to keep the national spirit, the love of the mother language and the Armenian culture alive within its students, educate them into individuals aware of their national values, and guide them to develop into dedicated and conscientious Armenian intellectuals.
The newly opened lyceum was directed by Levon Shant, with Nigol Aghpalian as his colleague. Kasbar Ipegian also aided in the management of the school.
Soon the lyceum relocated in a more spacious and convenient building in Wadi Abu Jemil Street. Later– with donations of Palanjian sisters and fundraising in the United States– the property on Sokak El Blat was bought. In June 1950 the new school was officially opened. Since then the Armenian Lyceum (Hay Djemaran) is officially called Nshan Palanjian Djemaran.
Following to the death of Levon Shant in 1951, Simon Vratsian became the principal of Djemaran. Moushegh Ishkhan and Karnig Panian became assistants to the principal. In 1953 and 1957 the second and the third buildings of the lyceum were constructed.
Because of the illness of Simon Vratsian, Hrach Dasnabedian was assigned to take up the post of the principal of Djemaran in fall 1968. Simon Vratsian died May 21, 1969. More floors were added on the three buildings to enclose the ever-growing number of students.
In the 1974-75 school year the number of students had surpassed 1,000, and despite additional constructions and new sections of buildings, there was no more space. The space restrictions were so tight that the Central Committee of Hamazkayin decided to construct a new school. A large piece of land in Mezhair was bought for that purpose.
At that point the Lebanese civil war began. During the war, Djemaran went through various circumstances, had two branches, and set up crowded sections in the hospitable buildings of Genats School in Dbayeh. Then Djemaran moved to the Shaghzoyan building in Bourj Hamoud, which gradually developed into a six-story school building.
In 1986 construction in the Mezhair property was launched. The first and second sections of the school building were constructed due to the generous donations of Melankton Arslanian, and following to his death, that of his brother, Haig Arslanian, as well as to additional fundraising in the Armenian communities of Lebanon and other countries (especially Kuwait and the Arab Gulf countries,). The Norsigian Kindergarten was constructed on account of Norsigian’s will. The parking lot and the covered sports ground under construction with the endowment of Garbis Harboyan are still uncompleted.
Djemaran moved to its new premises in 1987. The official opening ceremony took place in fall 1988.
The kindergarten and the elementary school in Nshan Palanjian Djemaran which were still functioning with a small number of students moved to Mezhair in 2001. Thus, all the sections of Djemaran are now contained in the buildings of Melankton and Haig Arslanian Djemaran.
Currently, Melankton and Haig Arslanian Djemaran is a secondary school, with the following sections:
a) Day care center for children 1-3 years old,
b) The three-year Norsigian kindergarten,
c) The school itself, with its preschool, elementary, intermediate, and secondary classes.
The students of the ninth grade sit for the official Lebanese Brevet exams, an achievement prerequisite for graduating to the secondary school. The students of the graduate classes in the secondary school sit for the French and the Lebanese Baccalaureate exams. The students of Djemaran pass all the official exams with great results.
Many intellectuals, educators, and activists who have been distinguished either in Armenian communities or elsewhere are the graduates of Djemaran.
Following the death of Hrach Dasnabedian (April 2001) the directorship of Djemaran was given to a council of three directors. Currently Dikran Jinbashian is the Principal of Dejmaran. Two vice-Principals, Houri Yapoujian as educational headmaster and Norair Najarian as administrative manager are assisting the school principal. A Board of Trustees appointed by the Central Committee of Hamazkayin supervises the educational, administrative, and economic activities of Djemaran.
The current number of the students in Djemaran reaches 600.
Fore more information, visit: www.djemaran.edu.lb