Seneca Valley High School students hosted a soccer game Thursday in honor of their fallen classmate, Aram Azizyan, .
Two teams comprised of students played half-hour games while their classmates sold “Aram’s Army” T-shirts and wristbands with hopes of donating the proceeds to Aram’s family.
Students presented Aram’s parents with flowers and a memory book during Thursday’s game. His parents said the outpouring of love and support from Seneca Valley has helped them get through a difficult time.
Soccer, they said, was Aram’s favorite sport.
“I hope he’s watching right now,” said Aram’s father Ruben Azizyan.
“From the heavens,” said Aram’s mother, Zhanna Ter-Poghosova.
News of Aram’s death was hard for the Seneca Valley community. “He had one of those personalities that couldn’t be defeated,” said Kat Costenbader, Aram’s guidance counselor, who he called “Miss Kat.”
But then, students began transforming their grief into action. “This was one of those life-changing moments for them,” Costenbader said.
Doyle said students approached her, Costenbader and Spanish teacher Kelly Smith about hosting the game. And it was the students who did most of the work, organizing the teams and finding volunteer coaches. Doyle estimated the T-shirt and wristband sales leading up to the game had generated $1,000.
Miguel Mendez, a 16-year-old 10th grader, played in Thursday night’s game. He said he met Aram in middle school.
“We always played soccer,” Miguel said. “So when he passed, I felt like this was the minimum I could do.”
“The minimum,” he reiterated.
On the soccer field, Aram could play midfielder or forward, according to one of his former teammates Angel Balbin, 15-year-old sophomore. Of the field, he was known for his sense of humor and his ability to listen.
“Aram was like a brother,” Angel said. “Anytime I had problems, he was always there.”