New Years Resolutions

Date: January 5, 2023


Helping Your Child with their Learning Goals this New Year

The New Year inspires individuals of all ages to rethink their wants and set new goals. Even children benefit from New Year resolutions, as they encourage them to work on their time management and discipline.

If your child isn’t sure what they would pick for their resolution, a great place to start is with a learning goal. After winter break, the pause in learning can lead to problems with retaining information. There is hardly a better way to get back into the swing of things than with a goal to invigorate them.


How do I help my child set their learning goal?

A great thing to remember when setting resolutions for your child (and even yourself) is the SMART acronym. First and foremost, your child must identify what it is they want to work on in school. Upon naming that broader goal, help them break it into more sizeable chunks with SMART.

  • Specific- “Getting better at math” is too vague of a goal to feasibly achieve. “Getting better at multiplication tables,” is better, but “Mastering the first half of my multiplication tables” is specific enough that your child should know exactly where they need to start.
  • Measurable- In the same example as above, it’s difficult for your child to say when they’ve succeeded at their goal of “getting better at math.” However, there are clear steps to take to master the first half of their multiplication tables—succeed at the ones, then the twos, and so forth.


Measurable- In the same example as above, it’s difficult for your child to say when they’ve succeeded at their goal of “getting better at math.” However, there are clear steps to take to master the first half of their multiplication tables—succeed at the ones, then the twos, and so forth.


Attainable- While you want to encourage your child to reach for the stars, goals that are too high usually fail. Your child might feel bad about themselves if they set a goal that is too lofty, which can lead to even more problems with their learning.



Results-oriented- Your child’s resolution should also include steps of how they’ll achieve their goals. This might mean studying for half an hour after school every day or working with a tutor two times a week.


Time-bound- It’s easy for goals to fall to the wayside if there isn’t a time frame for completion. Encourage your child to select a date to complete their resolution by. This could be mastering the first half of their multiplication tables by the end of the school year.



A tutor can help them achieve their learning goals

If your student needs additional support achieving their learning goals, consider hiring a tutor. The Assyrian Cultural Foundation offers free math and English tutoring to Assyrian students. It is our mission to provide students the tools they need to not only overcome their current problems but to set their path for future success.

To learn more about our tutoring program, call us at 224-935-2366 or email



Emmanuel Baba Dawud “Ammo Baba”

Date: November 11, 2022


Ammo Baba, Iraq’s “First Prince of Football”

There are few Assyrian soccer players (or footballers, as they’re better known on the other side of the Atlantic ocean) more loved than Emmanuel Baba Dawud, or Ammo Baba.

Born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1934, Baba’s prowess for the sport was made clear at the young age of 16. Iraqi schoolboys’ coach, Ismail Mohammed, discovered Baba while playing for the Liwa Al-Dulaim school province team. He’d come to know the sport by watching British soldiers playing the game, and had an instinctual pull to the game.

With the encouragement of Mohammed, Ammo Baba moved to the Royal Air Force (RAF) Employees’ Club, where he played for four years. His career exploded, however, when he made his senior debut during the International Military Sports Council qualifier in 1955. His career took on an international scope when he scored the team’s first goal against Morocco in 1957.

Upon sustaining an injury in 1958, Iraq’s King Faisal II sent him to London for treatment. During that time, he was scouted by a number of English clubs—including Liverpool, Chelsea, and Celtic. However, Iraq was experiencing new waves of political unrest, and with the safety of his family in mind, he returned home.

After nearly 20 years of playing, Baba’s career ended in 1970, but his career was far from over. Baba coached a number of Iraqi teams, even going as far as to coach three Olympic teams.

Baba’s entire soccer career was colored by the politics of the time. In the 1960s, political parties were starting to worm their way even into sports. He refused to let his face be used for political gain, even when it meant punishment for him. Throughout his entire career, he stood up for his players, as well as his people.

For many Iraqi citizens, Baba was a pure representation of the people. Despite the hardships, his passion for the sport never died. In the later years of his life, he founded a soccer school for underprivileged children—many of whom have grown to be professional soccer players. Following his death in 2009, Al-Rusafa Stadium was renamed to Ammo Baba Stadium in honor of his work.

Babba was a bright spot for a country that desperately needed one. His impression will be felt on the world of soccer for decades to come.

Published by: Brian Banyamin

Written by: Cassy Ledger 


“Ammo Baba.” Goalden Times,
Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, August 17). Ammo Baba. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from

Should Young Children Learn Music Theory?

Date: October 14, 2022

Should Young Children Learn Music Theory?

You may have heard about “music theory” but aren’t sure what it implies. Music theory is the study of the methods and concepts musicians use when creating music. In hearing this, you may think there isn’t much of a reason for your child to learn about it quite yet. However, that couldn’t be further from the case.

Music theory examines important musical qualities such as tone, pitch, rhythm, tempo, and more—all of which your child needs to understand to find the most success in their musical practice. While helping your young child learn about these concepts may seem daunting, there are clear pros to doing so.



A solid musical foundation at a young age

Children’s brains are like little sponges. The younger they are, the more quickly they’ll pick up a concept. This is why teaching children a second language at a young age is often stressed: it’s easier for them to learn.

Similarly, if you teach your child music theory concepts at a young age, it will shape their entire musical journey. They are more likely to learn more quickly and even develop a stronger interest in music as a whole. Basic concepts can be taught to children as young as three years old through fun activities. When children reach about nine years old, they are ready for more advanced concepts.



Children better understand how music works

When children have a solid musical foundation at a young age, they also have a better understanding of how a piece of music works as a whole. For example, when a child knows what key a piece of music is in, they can anticipate the notes and intervals that will be used throughout.  This speeds up the learning process.

In an ensemble setting, music theory will help them understand where their instrument fits. This is especially important when your child has to learn the harmonies of a piece instead of the melody.



Help them learn independently

When children can’t properly read music, the only way to learn is by ear and memorization. This is an option, however, it requires your child to listen to a piece of music again and again until they can figure it out. This limits them to learning music that has already been recorded or only learning when someone is sitting nearby to play it first.

In understanding music theory, your child will be able to look at a piece of music they’ve never learned before and start reading—much like reading a new book. It will also make it easier for your child to pick up a new instrument as they please.



Learn about music theory with a professional tutor

If you never practiced music, the thought of teaching theory to your child may seem like an impossible feat. Thankfully, you don’t have to shoulder it on your own. At the Assyrian Cultural Foundation, we offer music lessons with qualified tutors in a broad range of instruments through our Nebu J. Issabey Music Program.

Dr. Robert Paulissian

Date: October 11, 2022


Dr. Robert Paulissian was born on March 8, 1935 to Rabee Babajan and Mrs. Asnat Paulissian. During his youth, he accomplished many different feats. He helped establish the Shooshan School in Tehran in 1954 while he was still in school. He also served as president of the National Progressive Youth Organization of Assyrian youth called “Shooshada Oomtanaya” from 1956 to 1963.

In 1957, while studying at the University of Tehran, Dr. Paulissian helped organize the Assyrian Charity Clinic which aided sick and ill Assyrians alike. He was also assigned to serve in Hamadan as a missionary physician at the Christian Hospital of Hamadan. During his time in Hamadan, he also taught some Assyrian classes in the church school.

In 1966-1969, he was assigned as a professor at the University of Chicago. Concurrently, he also was the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies. Lastly, he helped facilitate and direct the Assyrian School, which became a subdivision of the ANCI, at Northeastern University.

Dr. Paulissian has been involved in a multitude of initiatives and organizations. He worked tirelessly to help his people whether this was by treating their wounds/ailments or helping them learn Assyrian. Dr. Paulissian has been a great benefit for the Assyrian community and we thank him for his service.


Published by: Brian Banyamin

Written by: Nino Aishou



Solomon, S. (1991). Dr. Robert Paulissian, M.D. In Prominent Assyrians (pp. 53–54). essay.

Solomon, S. (2010). Dr. Robert Paulissian, M.D. In The Indestructible Assyrians (p. 184). essay, Lulu Press.

Dr. Joseph Plumb Cochran

Date: October 4, 2022

Joseph Plumb Cochran was born on January 14, 1855 in Urmia, Qajar Iran. During his youth he learned the local languages of Assyrian, Azerbaijani, and Kurdish, in addition to English and Persian. When he was a teenager, he decided to travel to America in 1868 and ended up staying in Buffalo, New York. He studied medicine at New York Medical College where he graduated in 1876. He also did 2 years of residency and focused on surgery, infectious diseases, and gynecology.

Ultimately, he decided to return to Urmia and was assigned by the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions as a missionary physician to Persia. Joseph requested from congregation members of the Westminster Church of Buffalo and the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Mission funding for what would eventually become the Westminster Hospital. The building of the hospital was approved and construction was completed in 1882.

Joseph’s greatest legacy was creating and establishing a modern medical school called Westminster College, which was one of the first of its kind in Iran. He was the first director of the medical school, but was also joined by other American medical doctors, including Dr Wright, Dr Homlz, Thomas Langdon van Norden, and Emma T. Miller. Joseph directed the school for 27 years where there would be 26 medical students that would graduate from this school.

Joseph was a true pioneer when it came to medicine in Iran. Creating and developing the first medical school was a truly noble endeavor and many people benefited from it.

Written by: Nino Aishou



Esmail Yourdshahian, Farrokh Ghavam, Mohhamad-Hassan Ansari, Life of Dr. Joseph Plumb Cochran, Founder of Iran’s First Contemporary Medical College, Archives of Iranian Medicine, Academy of Medical Sciences, Islamic Republic of Iran, Vol. 5, No. 2 (April 2002).

Robert E. Speer, “The Hakim Sahib”, The Foreign Doctor. A biography of Joseph Plumb Cochran, M.D., of Persia, Illustrated (Fleming H. Revell Company, New York, 1911).

Hooman Estelami, The Americans of Urumia: Iran’s First Americans and their Mission to the Assyrian Christians (Bahar Books, LLC) 2021

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, August 22). Joseph Cochran. Wikipedia. Retrieved September 1, 2022, from

What Age Should I Enroll My Student in Music Classes?

Date: September 30, 2022

The idea of one’s child being some sort of musical prodigy is undeniably an enticing one. It’s magical to see a child pick up an instrument at a young age and excel through the various stages of learning. This inspires many parents to register their students in a music class at a young age.

There is the opposite side of the coin to consider, however. We all have a friend who laments about how their parents forced them to learn to play a certain instrument, and how they hated every minute of it. No one wants their child to foster an abundance of negative memories due to being forced into something they don’t like.


So, when is the right time to enroll your child in a music class?


Unfortunately, the answer isn’t cut and dry. No two children will be ready for music at the same time, so it all depends on your child. If your child doesn’t express interest, they may not be ready. However, if your child responds to music by clapping, keeping beat, or singing, it could be time to sign your child up for a class.

Children as young as three can benefit from music classes—but it won’t be a traditional music lesson. These classes will be more about getting your child accustomed to making music and learning some (very) basic techniques. This will set them up for success in a fun, group environment.


For three-year-olds, instruments like small drum sets, whistles, and even recorders are best. However, if your child expresses interest in piano or guitar, it’s always recommended to let them try.

It’s between the ages of five and seven that a child may be ready for a formal music lesson. Most five-year-olds can focus on singular tasks for a period of time, allowing them to really learn. During these lessons, your child will learn about common principles of music as they learn how to play their instrument of choice.

In this age range, instruments like piano and drum are perfect, as the child doesn’t have to attempt to lift and hold an instrument. Certain instruments can be rented in a child-size. This Something like a full-sized violin, for instance, would be too wieldy for small, six-year-old hands.


By the age of ten, your child will have the discipline they need to be serious about an instrument, as well as the size and physical dexterity they need to play larger brass or string instruments. At this age, your child should be ready to play whatever instrument interests them. Encourage your child to try several instruments so they can determine which instrument would be best for them.

The general rule of thumb to keep in mind? Follow your child’s guide. Encourage their interests to ensure they have the richest musical journey possible.

At the Nebu J. Issabey Music Program, we believe it’s important to foster exceptional talent at an early age. Our private tutors can help your child learn piano, violin, viola, cello, woodwinds, and brass instruments.  For more information on the program, call us at 224-935-2366.

Abraham Karem

Date: September 27, 2022


Abraham “Abe” Karem was born on June 27, 1937 in Baghdad, Iraq to an Assyrian couple. His family moved to Israel in 1951, where he spent most of his life. From an early age, Abe knew that he was going to be a mechanical engineer: ‘“I am a toy man,”’ he explains. ‘“What motivates me from the time I was a kid—call it technology, call it whatever—it was play. By the age of eight, I knew I’m going to be a mechanical engineer. And oh my God, by the age of 13 or 14, I fell in love with aeronautics”’. He eventually went to Isreal’s renowned Technion Institute of Technology where he earned an aeronautical engineering degree.

He founded Leading Systems Inc. in his home garage where he started to really create history. Working with Abe in the garage were two other believers in UAVs: Jack Hertenstein, a brainy, bashful engineer and radio control modeler Karem had met at Developmental Sciences, and Jim Machin, a pre-med student who’d impressed Abe at a free-flight modeling meet. Together they created the first unmanned aerial vehicle that they called Albatross. The UAV was 200 pounds and carried a camera in its nose.

The drone’s exceptional performance lead it to be funded and contracted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. There they created a bigger model with the same configurations as Albatross that they dubbed Amber. Abe continued on, with private funding help, to develop an even bigger drone called Gnat-750. However, his company, in 1990, filed for bankruptcy and was bought out by General Atomics. Luckily for Abe and his team, the new owners invited them to work for General Atomics. It was with General Atomics that Abe and his team made the famous MQ-1 predator drone for the CIA and he was nicknamed the “Drone Father”


Published by: Brian Banyamin

Written by: Nino Aishou



Magazine, S. (2013, April 1). The man who invented the predator. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from

Wikimedia Foundation. (2022, May 16). Abraham Karem. Wikipedia. Retrieved August 25, 2022, from

Books that Will Inspire Your Struggling Reader to Read this School Year

Date: September 21, 2022

Books that Will Inspire Your Struggling Reader to Read this School Year

For students who dislike, or struggle with, reading, it is a battle to get them to pick up a book over the school year. As a parent, you recognize the importance of continuing to read, but your child may not.

However, when students don’t read daily, they begin to lose the critical skills they developed over time. For children who struggle with English, this is especially detrimental. So, inspire your child to keep reading daily with these fun, engaging books. These fast reads will keep your child’s attention and have them reaching for more all year long.



Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne

Children of the ‘90s will recognize this title.  Magic Tree House follows a pair of siblings on their series of adventures—some totally fabricated, others rooted in historical events. Osborne’s clear and lively writing style continues to entice children for 30 years, and parents enjoy that their child is learning something while having fun.

Since 1992, Osborne has released 108 novels in the Magic Tree House universe, so your child could be busy reading all year long with this series alone. There is even a secondary Magic Tree House series, the Merlin Missions books, which is designed to target slightly older children.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid took the world by storm in the early 2000s. Its fun illustrations, relatable characters, and a writing style that is easily accessible to children of any reading ability quickly made it a classic. With 17 novels in the series and 11 supplementary books, your child has ample opportunity to enjoy the humor of this series.


Alvin Ho by Lenore Look

For lovers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Alvin Ho is a great next step. It’s another illustrated chapter book that follows a boy as he navigates school and everything that scares him in life. The Alvin Ho series tackles the sensitive topic of anxiety in a fun way that is accessible to children. It’s valuable for them to see these struggles represented so they know it is a normal feeling, and how to cope with it.


Who Was/What Was Series

For parents who want their children to learn more important figures and events in history, the Who Was? and What Was? series are fantastic options. They are quick and to the point, with beautiful illustrations written by various experts. With over 250 titles, it’s likely your child will find a number of books that pique their interest.


Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a series of novels following the titular character as he explores the world of Greek Gods in the 21st century. Herald as “perfectly paced” and “electrifying,” millions of children across the world found themselves enthralled by this series and its subsequent spin-offs. This series is geared towards slightly children, so keep that in mind as you offer it to your child.

A television series is currently in the works, so by the time your child finishes reading the series, they’ll be excited to compare and contrast the two forms.


Let your child read what they want to read

Author R.L. Stine famously said, “Let kids read what they want to read, don’t try to force them to read ‘good’ books. I always say it’s really important to let kids find what they like and let them read it.” If you gate-keep your child’s reading, they will likely grow to resent reading altogether. Instead, encourage your child to read any book. Of course, you can make suggestions, but know it is always up to them to put down or pick up a book.

If your child struggles with their English homework reading will certainly help, but having a tutor to support them will make all the difference. Call 224-935-2366 or email to learn more about the Assyrian Cultural Foundation Tutoring Program.

John Shabbaz

Date: September 19, 2022


John Calvin Shabbaz was born on January 19, 1924 in Gary, Indiana. He was the son of Jonathan and Leah Shahbaz of Turlock. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on November 7, 1942, during the midst of World War II. He quickly completed his crew training at Peterson Field Colorado and arrived at the Metfield bomber base. He became the navigator of the new combat-ready Strategic Air Commands’ newest heavy bomber, the B52 Stratofortress. The giant aircraft is powered by 8 jet engines, flies at speeds of 600 miles per hour, and operates at altitudes above 50,000 feet. He was a part of the 491st Bombardment Group that lead a bombing mission over northern France and Germany from June 1944 to April 1945. John would spend the next 23 years with the Strategic Air Commands.

Over the course of his air force career, he reached the rank of Colonel. He was also awarded six different medals for his services: Air Medal, Distinguished Flying Cross, European-African, Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, National Defense Service Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and Air Force Commendation Medal.

John was a true patriot of the United States giving almost 25 years to the air force for this country. He was a true hero and an inspiration to all. But, most importantly, he was an Assyrian.


Published by: Brian Banyamin

Written by: Nino Aishou



How Music Education Can Benefit Your Child Academically

Date: September 16, 2022

How Music Education Can Benefit Your Child Academically

When budget cuts begin, schools almost always start to reduce funding for their music programs. There is still an ideology that the fine arts are secondary to other academics. This belief is based on the misconception that students who devote their time to music rather than STEM (Science, Technology, Engineers, and Mathematics) will underperform in school.

This, however, has shown to be a false belief. In a study published by the Journal of Educational Psychology, students who learned to play a musical instrument in elementary school and continued playing through high school had scored higher on exams. These students were also more likely to have higher English, mathematics, and science grades, regardless of socioeconomic background, ethnicity, and gender.



Thus, how can your child’s involvement in music benefit them academically? Music engages several portions of the brain, areas that may otherwise not be stimulated without participating in the fine arts. Music students specifically must learn to read music notation, develop hand-eye coordination, listening skills, discipline, and team skills when in an ensemble all at a young age.

In addition to higher grades and test scores, several studies have identified these key factors positive effects of students receiving a music education.



Enhanced language skills

Studies have shown that musical training develops the left side of the brain, which is associated with language, speech production, and speech comprehension. Due to their enhanced ability to process new sounds, musical students can quickly learn new words and correctly articulate them. Children who play an instrument are more likely to have a larger vocabulary than their non-musical peers. A musical background also helps students learn languages and become proficient faster.



Stronger memory

A major aspect of learning music involves memorization. As students move forward with their musical education, they must learn to sight read music quickly for the first time, play all the proper notes, and recall lyrics. Due to this constant recall, it results in students having improved memory. Music is also an art that builds on previous knowledge. Thus, children are forced to remember what they previously learned, strengthening their memory further.



Collaboration with peers

While students often partake in individual or very small group classes with a tutor, playing an instrument often leads students to join a large ensemble. By being a member of an orchestra or band, students must rely on one another to ensure their performance is cohesive and correct. There is a sense of responsibility engrained in students that their practicing is essential for the entire ensemble to sound good for rehearsal or a performance. Students also form social bonds and a sense of belonging within their ensemble, cultivating new friendships they may not have otherwise made.



Improved mental health

Those who practice music often grow to have a better relationship with their mental health. This could be in relation to self-esteem, as many students feel a sense of achievement as they grow more confident with their instrument of choice. Students who practice music are also more likely to have higher empathy than non-musical peers, an essential trait for those who are planning on pursuing jobs in education, the healthcare field, and much more.



Stress relief

As so many of us enjoy turning on our favorite music when we need to unwind, creating music helps relieve many students’ stress. Even if it is only for a short period of time, a few minutes of playing an instrument can have a strong impact on your child’s overall stress levels.

For parents who want their shape their children into well-rounded students, one of the best routes they can take is to enroll their student in a music class. At our Nebu J. Issabey Music Program, we can help your student master piano, violin, viola, cello, woodwinds, and brass instruments. Call our music program coordinator, Emma Shaw, at 224-935-2366 or email her at to learn more about the program.