By John Brooks
FLArmenians Guest Contributor
George Arut, a young Armenian student of distinction, recently completed an internship for Chief Justice Ricky Polston of the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee this past summer. His journey from childhood to his brilliant future is worthy of detailing so that young Armenians can aspire just as he did to make and achieve goals.
George is a wonderful example of a young Armenian who in his short life has thus far accomplished so much in which all should be proud.
His family moved to the U.S. in January 1991 and George was born later that year. After spending most of his childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, George moved with his family to Florida in 2001, where they now live.
After going to public school from kindergarten through the fifth grade, George was home-schooled from middle school onwards, basically teaching himself via computer, since his parents were working hard to achieve their own version of the American Dream. Being a straight “A” student, he was able to skip grades due to his stellar academic achievements, finishing high school at the age of 16. George was then accepted to the University of North Florida (UNF) with a Bright Futures Scholarship. In just three years he graduated Summa Cum Laude at the age of 19, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy.
Since childhood, George told his parents that he would someday be an attorney. Thus, he applied to several law schools in his final year of college. George chose to go to Florida Coastal School of Law, as they were the first to send him an invitation and offer a school scholarship for his high educational achievements. He is currently entering his final year of law school and will be graduating next year. At this rate, George will have a Juris Doctorate at only 22 years of age!
Because of his high achievements in law school, ranking #1 out of 500+ students for at least four semesters, George was chosen to do a summer internship at the Florida Supreme Court in Tallahassee under Chief Justice Ricky Polston. When I spoke with him, George remarked on his experience at the Court. “Being at the Court has been a truly awesome, and certainly humbling, experience. Getting to see how the highest appellate court in the state operates is something that many people do not get to see, and I feel honored that I had the chance to do just that. Not to mention the fact that I got to meet some of the Justices, staff attorneys, and other employees of the Court in person, and see a few oral argument sessions live, too. I even had the chance to help out high school students from Girls State in their mock oral arguments at the Court when they were in town, and to educate them on what law school is like. Then, to top it off, I got to meet and interact with several law students from across the state who were also interning at the Court. Overall, it was an experience that I will definitely take with me going forward,” Arut said.
Although he was not born in the “old country” and never visited there, George loves his Armenian culture, especially the music. George’s advice is to find your passion, follow your dreams and not to lose site of your faith and cultural heritage. When not obtaining his educational goals, George enjoys spending time with his family, who are the owners of INI Realty Investments in Jacksonville, Florida.
This is a perfect occasion for the Armenian community to celebrate the accomplishments of the future generation of outstanding Armenian-American leaders. Also, it is an opportunity to encourage our youth to keep their eyes on positive role models rather than the entertainment industry’s fantasy version of success in America. We in the Florida Armenian community will be watching this rising star and wish him great success.
John Brooks is the Vice Chair of the Armenian Church of Jacksonville.
Armenian Genocide featured in Miami Dade College’s First Annual Genocide Awareness Week
By Tina Varjabedian
FLArmenians Miami Contributor
Miami, FL – On Wednesday, April 4, Miami Dade College’s Homestead campus launched their First Annual Genocide Awareness Week with an opening event presenting the Armenian Genocide. Over 200 students and faculty members of non-Armenian backgrounds were present to learn about the history and politics surrounding the events of the Armenian Genocide.
Dr. Jeffery Thomas, Dean of Miami Dade College’s Homestead Campus, enthusiastically gave a welcoming introduction where he emphasized the significance of recognizing what he pronounced as a “denied chapter in world history.” Professor Hannibal Travis, J.D. from Florida International University’s College of Law, presented a discussion about International Law and Middle Eastern Politics. Taniel Koushakjian, Director of Grassroots at the Armenian Assembly of America, concluded the discussion with a segment on Survivor Accounts and Current Political Aspects Surrounding Armenian Genocide Recognition.
The lectures were followed by a “March for Genocide Prevention” ceremony, where students and faculty marched from the auditorium to the campus’s courtyard while holding sunflowers symbolizing the martyrs of the genocide. The event was concluded with a casual Q & A between the event’s speakers and students, while they enjoyed samples of Armenian pastries and music in the courtyard displaying the students’ Genocide artwork.