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Zan Thompson

Tipping Her Hat to the Cap and Gown

June 25, 1989|Zan Thompson

This is the wind-up of the graduation season, and everyone looks just fine in rented cap and gown. Or, if you're getting a graduate degree, maybe you bought your own.

I would like to extend my heartiest congratulations to all of the graduates, especially the kids who almost didn't make it, those who had to work a little harder than anyone else.

And also to the honor graduates, the award winners, the special mention people. It's a lovely thing to be a little better, and don't let anyone tell you anything else.

I'm fortunate to know an entire family of kids like that, the five sons of Dr. Aram and Marilyn Kezirian. The oldest is the one I met first, Peter. He was working as an intern in a United States senator's office and was a very bright young student at Harvard School in Los Angeles. It was fun to talk to Peter, but I had the disorienting feeling that maybe, just maybe, he was brighter than I was. Unsettling when you think the kid was about 17.

When he was graduated from Harvard, he went to Georgetown University because of its excellent courses of study in foreign service, which was Peter's dream. During his years at Georgetown, he called me frequently, which worried me about what Dr. Kezirian might say about Peter's telephone bill.

One of the honors he earned there was to assemble a model United Nations in which he instructed and led hundreds of high school students throughout the United States.

We continued our telephone conversations through a move by Peter into an apartment with several other young men. For me, it was four years of vicarious enrollment and study at Georgetown University.

The other day the Kezirians had a reception for more than 250 people honoring three of their five sons who were graduating. There were aunts, uncles, school friends, family friends, at least three generations and a whole sublevel of small children.

Peter had just been graduated from USC law school.

Next came Michael, who graduated from Brown University and is going on in September to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for an advanced degree in chemical engineering.

The youngest graduate was Douglas, who graduated from the sixth grade at Campbell Hall, a co-educational Episcopal school. Now he'll go to Harvard School where all the boys have performed with distinction.

A non-graduate this year was Eric, who just finished his freshman year at Harvard University where he was a member of the freshman crew. Older brother Michael was a member of the crew at Brown and crewed for Cambridge in England the semester he went there.

Eric was asked in a class one time which teacher had been the most influential in his life. He said, "My father has been my most influential teacher because he knows something about everything and knows how to make everything interesting."

Marilyn Kezirian says that she is very proud of her sons, with ample reason. She says, "I would like to be a little more help." Inasmuch as there is nothing these kids have set about doing that they haven't made a soaring success, it is difficult to think what else she and Aram could do.

All the boys play tennis and basketball, are excellent swimmers and they are all speech and debating stars.

Stephen, the fourth son, is starting his junior year at Harvard School here in the fall. He will be class president next year and was voted the most valuable sophomore as he had been named most valuable freshman. He is vice president of the National Forensic League as his brothers have been.

The buffet table at the party was centered with a magnificent cake, fresh raspberry with white icing on the sides and chocolate on top. There was a helmeted Tommy Trojan in frosting on top for Peter, a Bruin bear for Michael and a basketball for Douglas.

Congratulations to these five boys and their parents seems like gilding the lily. The special honors go to the senior Kezirians for producing such diverse, interesting young men.

And to all of this year's graduates, hurrah. May this summer be full of music and dancing and swimming with the sun tingling on your shoulders.

Hey, you made it, and the world is out there waiting for you to make it a little better, make it the fun green place it was meant to be.

I wish you courage, laughter, friendship, loyalty and roses all the way.

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