Leaving Sudan for A Better Life: Taban’s Story

Update: A few years back, CSF highlighted Taban, an 8th grader and CSF supported student at St. Pius V School in Lynn. 

Today, Taban is a senior at St. Mary’s High School in Lynn and he is continuing to thrive. According to an article by the Daily Item, Taban is being scouted by multiple colleges for his track and field skills. Some of these schools include Franklin Pierce, Hamilton College, Fitchburg State and Wheaton College. 

On February 7th, 2020 Taban was featured as the Student Speaker at CSF’s Celebration of Excellence Breakfast honoring senior scholarship recipients. He addressed his peers as well as many high-level CSF supporters to thank them for their dedication to providing quality education to low-income kids. 

“This morning, I get the rare opportunity to thank you. Thank you to everyone who gave me a chance and helped me succeed. No words can describe how lucky and fortunate I am. I will always be grateful,” said Taban. “My state championship is your state championship. My life after St. Mary’s, when I find another next gear to excel to even greater things, will be your life. Without any of you, none of this would have been possible.”

It’s clear no matter where Taban ends up, he will continue making an impression on everyone he meets. CSF is so proud to support students like Taban, and overjoyed to follow their successes through high school, college and beyond.

Original story:

Taban Manyok, an 8th grader and Catholic Schools Foundation (CSF) supported student at St. Pius V School in Lynn has been attending Catholic school since 4th grade.  Prior to that, Taban was at a local public school and faced many challenges that impacted his ability to learn. Taban’s mother, a refugee from Sudan, was fortunate enough to find an advocate through South Sudanese Enrichment for Families (SSEF) when she was struggling to make ends meet in a new country.

Recognizing that Taban was struggling in public school and not reaching his full potential, SSEF believed that a values-based Catholic education might be the answer to improving Taban’s educational experience. Unsure of where to turn, SSEF reached out to the Liberty Mutual Foundation who in turn introduced Taban and his family to CSF.  If not for the strong partnership with Liberty Mutual and a small scholarship from CSF, Taban may not have ended up at St. Pius V School in Lynn.

Since 4th grade, Taban’s growth has been immense. From entering St. Pius V unsure and skeptical as to how he would fit in at a new school, to being elected by his peers as Commissioner General of the Student Council, Taban has excelled. Beyond serving as an elected official for the student body, Taban has enjoyed playing on the St. Pius V School basketball team in grades 5 through 8 and was also one of the top cross country runners on his team this past season. Supporters of the Catholic Schools Foundation may have had the opportunity to meet Taban at the 26th Annual ICSF Dinner in April as he was chosen to be a student greeter.

Taban’s teachers describe him as remarkably gifted when it comes to social interaction, saying he is pleasant, enthusiastic, outgoing, courteous, and positive. He greets everyone he meets with a genuine smile and a handshake. Taban is a respected leader, a strong student, and a good friend. This year as an 8th grader, Taban has reflected a true appreciation for his Catholic education. Though he will miss St. Pius, Taban is eager to attend St. Mary’s High School in Lynn this fall.

Despite having experienced considerable need, Taban has amazed the school community by his growth and resilience.  His compassion, generosity, and appreciation are further reflected through his dedication to serving others. Taban volunteers his time and positive energy to serve at My Brothers Table, a local agency serving the hungry.

Taban has made an impact on everyone in the St. Pius V school community.  He knows almost every student and teacher by name, even those teachers who have never had him in class, a testament to his vibrant personality.  The students, faculty, staff, and administration insist that they will miss Taban even more than he will miss St. Pius V School.

Thank you to the donors of the Catholic Schools Foundation for giving Taban the gift of a quality education. Your support has changed his life.