An alumna of the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School of Detroit,from the first graduating class for grades 7-12, Linda Karibian exemplifies the high standards the school has met and exceeded over the past 50 years. After graduation, she attended college and graduated dental school but never failed to focus on the growth of her AGBU alma mater. She began serving on the school board more than 25 years ago.
What’s more, she has been involved in almost every one of the school’s anniversary events, which organizes a celebration every five years, claiming they have it “down to a science.” We caught up with Linda shortly after the milestone 50th anniversary gala that she helped make a resounding success.
The Manoogian School is so much more than a school. It really bridges the Armenian community in Detroit.
What were your goals for the 50th Anniversary celebration and did you meet them? For such an important occasion, we wanted to target more alumni of different ages. And we did. We sold out and had a waiting list for tickets. It was the best showing of alumni to date. We also wanted to thank the Detroit community for their support of our school with a memorable evening.
What makes you most proud of the school? The Manoogian School is so much more than a school. It really bridges the Armenian community in Detroit. I’m proud to say that younger generations don’t care about the differences between churches, they’re all friends with each other. Manoogian students also get involved in the community at large—like performing or dancing at community events, like the Armenia Fest in Michigan.
Moreover, we are always trying to improve. The new STEM and robotics programs are an example of that.
As we look ahead, what are the prospects for the Manoogian School? I know the school will continue to grow and improve to best serve all of our students. I think back to my own experience. The Manoogian School always did a good job in preparing students. For example, I took college courses at University of Michigan-Dearborn while still in high school. We continue a similar practice today by offering AP courses and dual-enrollment at other universities to ensure our students get ahead. It’s also worth noting that the University of Michigan Ann Arbor—the most competitive school in the state—loves the AGBU Manoogian School. So many of our students graduate with full scholarships to U of M.
Can you speak about AGBU’s legacy in your own family? We are multi-generational AGBU’ers and Manoogian School alumni. My daughter graduated from there, and she visited Armenia as a Manoogian senior. In college, she participated in the AGBU Global Leadership Program in Yerevan, where she interned for Repat Armenia. After graduating from Michigan State, she decided to take a gap year, and returned to Armenia with Birthright Armenia. Ironically, she’s now a “repat” and plans to stay in Armenia. My husband and I plan to spend more time in Armenia, too.
Banner Illustration by Luis Tinoco