Junior water polo player Chris Petrossian of Loyola High spends a lot of time in the pool. He’s also a straight-A student of Armenian descent who came up an idea to help students in Armenia. He created Buddies Across Borders, a program to tutor students in remote villages.
It started with Zoom teleconference and teaching via a computer. Then last summer, he traveled to the Armenian border to meet some of the students his program was helping. It’s an area that has undergone changes as Armenia and Azerbaijan continue a dispute that resulted in thousands of casualties in 2020.
“I went to an Armenian Christian elementary school and my family always taught me to give back to the community and Loyola is about mentoring to others,” he said.
He had to drive two hours to the village in Armenia in a war-torn part of the country.
“It was an exciting, humbling experience,” he said. “I got to learn how the kids in Armenia were similar to the way we live. They still have social media, watch TV. “
As for his creation to help tutor kids, Petrossian said, “I learned to improve my leadership skills. I learned how to keep in touch with people to plan things.”
He does most of his work when water polo is not taking place. His father was a standout water polo player at Glendale High.
For the next two months, water polo takes his time, but then it’s back to tutoring and thinking how he can expand his program and reach more kids in Armenia.