Staff, students and parents particiapted in the 2nd annual Armenian Sisters Academy Walkathon 2012 to raise funds for smart boards for the school's classrooms, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012.

Staff, students and parents particiapted in the 2nd annual Armenian Sisters Academy Walkathon 2012 to raise funds for smart boards for the school's classrooms, on Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012. (Raul Roa/Staff photographer / November 5, 2012)

Roughly 150 parents and children walked from the small campus of the Armenian Sisters Academy in Montrose to Crescenta Valley Park Saturday morning to raise money for adding “smart boards” in the school’s classrooms.

The walk days before the election encouraged a few locals to dress their dogs in patriotic-themed costumes, which was why Sola, a 13-year-old Bedlington Terrier, was dressed as the Statue of Liberty with a cloth crown atop her head.

La Crescenta parent Nayree Tanossian brought her daughters Lily, 5, and Nancy, 3, to walk the two miles to the park where there would be a juggling stilt walker.

“We don’t receive a lot of public funds so we have to do a lot of fundraising ourselves,” Tanossian said.

Her daughter, Lily, is in one of a few classes at the school already equipped with smart boards — sort of digital, video-based projectors that allow for more interactive classroom instruction.

“It’s quite impressive,” Tanossian said. “Now she’s telling me that she can drag her name and open different apps — things you would never expect a 5-year-old to know.”

Event organizer and parent Naris Khalatian Bethel set a goal to raise $60,000 to pay for nine additional smart boards.

So far, the school — with 270 students from pre-school to eighth grade — has raised nearly $18,000.

The walk took on a patriotic theme to also get students excited about the election, Khalatian Bethel said.

In the spirit of the voting season, each walker wore a shirt that read, “Vote for ASA. Vote for the Smart Choice” below an image of Mt. Ararat, the volcanic peak in Turkey where many believe the biblical figure Noah rested his ark.

After attending mass Saturday morning, the school’s three sisters who live in a nearby convent, pulled the shirts over their habits before beginning the walk.

“We wanted to merge our American-Armenian roots with this logo. This is a fun way in the spirit of the elections,” Khalatian Bethel said.

For weeks now, she said the school’s teachers have been discussing the upcoming election in a non-partisan way with a focus on democracy.

Their goal is to raise children who know their civic duty as they grow up to participate “spiritually, politically, and just be a good citizen,” she said.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan