Article written by Birthright Armenia and Dilijan Community Center Volunteers
Tsovik Harutyunyan was born on January 2, 1929 in Shamakhyan village of Dilijan. She is the eldest of three children and the only daughter in her family. Now she lives with her eldest son, daughter in law, and grandchildren in Dilijan.
When first asked about her childhood she recalls some of her fondest memories alongside her siblings and grandparents. Together, they spent countless days exploring all the nature around them. Although her youth was memorable, she adds that her family was never exactly financially stable. Her grandparents worked extremely hard to make ends meet and Tsovik learned early in life that village life in Armenia was nowhere near easy. At five years old she began going to school and things started to change as she found her true passion in education.
When World War II broke out, Tsovik was in the seventh grade. She had to support her family, community members and continue being a student at the same time. Unfortunately, times got worse when her father was killed at the “Battle of Kerch” and she had to step up her role as the oldest sister. (Still, one of her proudest moments was when she attended Crimea, a ceremony where Vladimir Putin was present, for the unveiling of a statue dedicated to the soldiers who died at the “Battle of Kerch”.) Later on, she continued studying, except now in a vocational field as she deemed it necessary to assist her family through a specialized trade.
Then, at just 16, Tsovik became a teacher in the Verin Aghdan village. After about one year, she moved to Yerevan and continued studying, but this time to become a kindergarten teacher. She continued teaching in different villages up until 1950, when she was forced to give up this passion of hers and marry. She expressed heavy reluctance to marriage and repeated to us: “Ես չէի ուզում, Ես չէի ուզում'' or “I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to”. However, her husband picked up where she left off and also pursued a career in education; together they went to work in Alaverdi, Ijevan, and other locations. Sadly, however, in 1962 he passed away and Tsovik was left all alone with her three children. As a result, she moved back to Dilijan and has stayed there ever since. She continued working as a teacher for the next 30 years and taught all sorts of subjects ranging from mathematics to language.
She reminisces the high marks she has received throughout her career as an educator and will never forget the impacts she has left on current teachers and Armenian education overall. Today she has 11 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren with whom she continues to practice her passion.