Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Fresno School Celebrates 'Reconciliation' After Hard-Won Name Change
By admin
Published 2 years ago on
September 8, 2022

Share

 

A Fresno elementary school, renamed for a prominent Armenian American newsman, hosted a celebration in honor of the campus’ new namesake on Wednesday.

School and district officials were joined by community members to recognize the accomplishments of H. Roger Tatarian, a Fresno native and noted journalist who went on to oversee the United Press International news service. After retiring from UPI, Tatarian returned home, wrote a weekly column for The Fresno Bee, and spent 15 years teaching journalism at Fresno State. He died in 1995.

The campus in northwest Fresno was formerly known as Forkner Elementary. Fresno Unified School District voted to rename the school last year following revelations that Jessie Clayton Forkner, one of Fresno’s earliest home developers and the man responsible for Fig Garden, banned Armenians and other people of color from owning properties he built.

“Mr. Tatarian came from a humble background and overcame discrimination in his youth to rise to the pinnacle of his field – a story not unlike many of our students,” said Superintendent Bob Nelson.  “We honor his example of hard work and determination to be the very best. I am proud that our district now has a school named for an Armenian-American, an honor long overdue in Fresno.”

Wednesday’s event recognized Tatarian’s accomplishments and honored his heritage. It included Armenian music, traditional food and dancing, and comments from area dignitaries including author Mark Arax. It was Arax who led the campaign to change the school’s name. 

“As a matter of reckoning and reconciliation, we ask that you finally name a school after an Armenian,” Arax implored trustees last year. “And where better than where an Armenian’s fig trees were planted but an Armenian was forbidden to live?”

Name Carries Special Significance for School’s Principal

The renaming came after other efforts to recognize Tatarian in the district were rebuffed. Members of the Armenian community campaigned to have a new school named for Tatarian, but trustees chose other honorees. District officials then pledged to place Tatarian’s name on a campus building — an offer dismissed as a “consolation prize” by Tatarian’s family.

On Wednesday, the school’s principal, Michele Markarian, looked beyond the messy process and focused on the outcome. She said the school’s name carries a special significance for her.

I didn’t think, becoming a principal, what an honor it would be — especially for an Armenian in the Armenian community,” Markarian said. “And this (school) is the cornerstone of this neighborhood. And we have very high expectations for our community, our staff. And I just want to do Roger right, because he was an outstanding journalist and very well respected in the community.”

Photos from the Event

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

DON'T MISS

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

DON'T MISS

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

DON'T MISS

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

DON'T MISS

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

DON'T MISS

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

DON'T MISS

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

DON'T MISS

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

DON'T MISS

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

UP NEXT

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

UP NEXT

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

UP NEXT

Columbia Cancels In-Person Classes as Demonstrations Sprout on US Campuses to Protest Israel War

UP NEXT

‘This Is How to Improve Reading Proficiency. We Just Have to Execute It’: FUSD Board President

UP NEXT

Local Leaders Must Put Their Shoulders Into Making Fresno ‘Education City USA’

UP NEXT

EdSource Welcomes Fresno News Veteran Jim Boren to Its Board

UP NEXT

Coalinga-Huron Teachers Say They’ll Strike Unless a Fair Contract Is Offered

UP NEXT

Now’s the Time to Register for FUSD’s Free Preschool and T-K

UP NEXT

‘Hopeville’ Literacy Documentary Showing Tonight at Roosevelt High

UP NEXT

It’s ‘Signing Day’ for These Clovis Unified Youngsters

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

2 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

Local Education /

3 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

3 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

3 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

4 hours ago

Will There Be a Third Measure E? What Richard Spencer Says.

4 hours ago

Melvin and Matzah: Giants Manager Recalls Childhood Passover

5 hours ago

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass Safe After Suspect Breaks Into Official Residence, Police Say

5 hours ago

Newsom Wants to Make It Easier for Arizona Women to Get a California Abortion

5 hours ago

By Remembering the Genocide, We Can Help Rebuild Armenia

6 hours ago

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

After nearly six years, 22 construction workers still have not been paid for work they did at Slater Elementary School in 2018, according to...

9 mins ago

9 mins ago

Did Fresno Unified’s Biggest Contractor Not Pay Its Workers? Company Still Gets Millions After Civil Penalty

31 mins ago

Biden Marks Earth Day by Going After GOP, Announcing $7 Billion in Federal Solar Power Grants

44 mins ago

Fresno Unified Says It Has No Superintendent Succession Plan Despite HR Leader’s Claim

2 hours ago

Work Starts on Bullet Train Line From Las Vegas to LA

Local Education /
3 hours ago

Trustees to Vote on New Fresno High Gym, Bullard Security Fence. Who Were the Low Bidders?

3 hours ago

Will CA Lawmakers Crack Down on Spending by Utility Companies?

3 hours ago

Supreme Court Will Take Up the Legal Fight Over Ghost Guns, Firearms Without Serial Numbers

4 hours ago

Express Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection, Announces Store Closures

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend