Tatarian Elementary: Fresno district celebrates first school named after Armenian

A garland of bright red, blue and orange balloons — the colors of the Armenian flag — started popping one by one in the rising heat Wednesday morning outside of Fresno Unified’s H. Roger Tatarian Elementary, The Fresno Bee reports.

He was the first Armenian-American to serve as the namesake for a Fresno Unified school after the FUSD board’s vote in October 2021. The celebration emphasized the importance of the name for Fresno’s Armenian community, with several odes to Armenian culture: including food, music and multiple performances from the Armenian Dance Group of Fresno.


Speakers said Tatarian set an example for students, educators and journalists throughout Fresno and beyond. Tatarian, a celebrated journalist educated in FUSD schools and at Fresno State, traveled the world as a World War II correspondent and eventually the editor-in-chief of United Press International.

After 34 years there, Tatarian returned to his alma mater Fresno State to join the journalism faculty.

The school’s administration is currently in talks with Fresno State leaders, including Jim Boren, executive director of Fresno State’s Institute for Media and Public Trust, about a partnership to teach journalism skills to Tatarian students.

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