Saint Mark’s Alumni Inspires Students to Live a Life of Servce

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It’s been 41 years since Joyce Tannian graduated from Saint Mark’s High School.

Yet, she is still living the mission of her beloved alma mater… to make the world a better place, one more pleasing to God and more helpful to others.

Tannian is the founder of Water is Life Kenya, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit whose mission is to spark personal, economic, and community development in marginalized communities in Kenya, in accordance with existing customs and culture. The organization works to provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene to villages in and around Kenya. Their focus includes empowering women by developing sources of income through improved resource management.

Tannian’s passion for providing assistance to the Kenyan population was evident as she hosted a presentation about Water is Life Kenya for Saint Mark’s students last school year. Her passion on stage was contagious, and it inspired the Saint Mark’s Students In Action Club to host a fundraiser to help support her efforts.

Students In Action is a unique youth service, leadership and recognition program that supports, trains and empowers today’s youth to be leaders, problem solvers, entrepreneurs and impactful global citizens.

Club moderator Sirama Adzalla remarked that Tannian’s speech last year “touched many lives.”

“When Joyce gave us the opportunity this year to be involved, the students were excited to be part of something very special and meaningful,” she said. “She is inspiring the next generation of Spartans to lead a life of service to others.”

The club organized a fundraiser that included a five-day trivia contest focused on educating the Saint Mark’s student body about Kenyan culture. They also organized a dress down day which gave students the opportunity to dress out-of-uniform in exchange for a donation. Their efforts raised over $2200 for Water is Life Kenya.

Tannian said she was elated by the donation, but not surprised. “Of course, I expected the Spartans to knock their dress-down fundraiser out of the park. But what happened was even better. They turned it into a FUN-raiser. I heard about the daily quizzes where they learned facts about Kenya and what Water is Life Kenya does there to ‘help Kenyans bloom with love and water,’’’ she said. “I am so grateful that my fellow Spartans opened their hearts to learn and to imagine what life is like for their fellow students across the world in Kenya where they carry water every day to school so they have water to drink and to cook lunch. The $2227 raised will go far to bring clean water to children and their families so they can have more energy and time for their schoolwork,” she said.

President Tom Fertal is pleased that Saint Mark’s students have such a powerful role model. “Miss Tannian has beautifully modeled living out the mission of Saint Mark’s by dedicating her life to making the world a better place. We hope that all students will strive to live a life of noble calling as she has,” he said.

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