14-year old TUMO Dilijan student Yelena Beklaryan is busy with school, TUMO and extracurricular activities every day of the week. At school, she’s president of the 8th grade Student Council. On her free time, she takes swimming and programming classes at UWC, learns English, participates in a dance group and gets tutored in math and chemistry — although, she might not agree with our characterization of “free time”.
“When someone asks me about free time, my answer is that I don’t have any. If I spend my free time reading books, it’s not actually free, is it? I’m busy doing something,” she explained, matter-of-factly.
Yelena was eleven years old when TUMO opened its doors in Dilijan and she couldn’t wait to turn twelve and join. Today, she’s three years into the program and credits it for her computer literacy. Her favorite workshops have been photography with Varo Rafaelyan and filmmaking with Kami Lebaredian.
“I came to TUMO to learn about different fields and figure out which ones resonate with me the most,” she said. “I keep coming because I love learning new things and picking up bits of knowledge wherever and however I can.”
Like most 14-year olds, Yelena isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up. Last month, she considered being a doctor. The one before that, she wanted to be an actress. Now, she’s settled on becoming a lawyer.
Yelena loves to cook. She invents new recipes — mixing ingredients she has at home — and tests them out on her parents and siblings.