In conjunction with the Sports Weekend, an essay contest was held by Western Diocese asking the ACYO members to write a response to a book The 100 Steps. We are delighted to announce that our ACYO members won high honors in the contest, Megan Tutundjian won first prize, and Kevin Kestekyan won second prize. Congratulations to Megen and Kevin.
The following is Megan Tutundjian's award winning essay:
After reading the 100 steps book I realized that as an Armenian I have always wondered why is our religion so important to our culture? Most people would say they are two different things, and even though they are in many ways, our culture and religion are also related in many ways. I take being a Christian very seriously. Being a Christian in my point of view doesn’t only mean going to church every Sunday or going to Sunday school even though those things play a big role in being a Christian I like to think of it in a different way.
Our ancestors fought and lost their lives so we can keep our religion and not be forced to accept another faith. Most people would think what does that have to do with my 101st step? I like to think of it as a bird, birds have two wings. A bird cannot fly with only one wing just like our culture isn’t complete without our religion. I believe that in order to accomplish my 101st step I need to be more active within our church. I do go to church almost every single Sunday and I do pray every day, but I still feel as though I haven’t reached my 101st step.
I think in order to be better Christians we need to become better people. We need to be willing to realize our mistakes forgive others, and ourselves. Since I go to an Armenian school our religion plays a big role in our daily school life. However, if you were to ask the students if they go to church or even take part in any religious holidays outside of school most students would simply answer no.
It’s important to have an active role in our churches because it doesn’t only affect how others see us, but how we view the world. ACYO has given me the opportunity to truly express myself beliefs and make new friendships that will last a life time. I would recommend joining ACYO to anyone who is not a member already. Since I am attending a non-Armenian high school next year, I may not be able to pray in Armenian every day or be around Armenians all the time. However, it is up to me to become even more involved with our churches and try to improve the way I think about Christianity.
I attend Sunday school every Sunday and I still cannot say I know everything about Christianity, which is why it is my job to change the way I approach my religion and culture. As I grow older I know I will learn more about Christianity. I think that if I can change my values and become even more active with my church I will be able to reach my 101st step.
I do not think there is only one way to approach our 101st step. However, it is important that we acknowledge that our culture and religion is part of our identity and they will always be a part of us, it is up to us to learn more about our religion and share it with others.