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WHS Student Establishes Nonprofit to Provide Clean Water

Story posted on twelve.tv on December 12, 2013.
 
The school year at Wayzata High School is barely half way through, yet work on the yearbook is well underway. Senior Marissa Ablack calls the key shots as the editor-in-chief.
 
"So it's been really good to kind of perfect my skills and kind of learn about what I want to do with my life after high school," Ablack said.
 
She has an eye for design and an interest in journalism. Working on the yearbook helps her combine the two passions. The teacher overseeing the yearbook calls her an asset.
 
"She brings a lot of strong characteristics and has been an inspiration to the team," said Tyler Shepard, a teacher at Wayzata. "It's shown that she's got a very diverse background of skills that she's been able to put together into a business situation."
 
However, Marissa's work goes far beyond yearbook design. As part of her National Honor Society project, Marissa helped develop the One Day Water Project, a nonprofit that provides schools around the world with water filtration systems.
 
"It's kind of a movement, almost, of trying to spread clean water to schools in Trinidad," Ablack said.
 
Marissa has family in Trinidad, and in November, she spent time visiting schools there, one of which received a free $2,000 water-purification unit courtesy of her nonprofit.
 
"It was a pretty cool feeling to go there and see the taps installed with this fresh water source, and see kids filling up water bottles out of taps, which wouldn't have been possible without us helping them," she said.
 
Her goal is to raise money so that even more schools can benefit.
 
"It's not just one school we're trying to affect. It's kind of a whole movement of clean water that we want to implement, starting in the Caribbean," she added. "But the possibilities are endless to where we could take it."
 
In the meantime, she has her senior year, and a yearbook to worry about.
 
"She's a phenomenal student to have," Shepard said.
 
Meantime, Marissa says the One Day Water Project has raised enough money to buy water filtration units for two other schools. As for college, Marissa says she's undecided, but her top choice is New York University.
 
Delane Cleveland
dcleveland@twelve.tv