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2013: Katherine & Joe Joyce

Twins Katherine & Joe Joyce are graduating seniors from the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans this year. They trace their Krilich family roots to Baćina in the Dalmatian region of Croatia, about halfway between Split and Dubrovnik. Their great grandfather Anton Krilich immigrated to the US in 1918 and their great grandma Anna Katich Krilich came in 1928. They eventually settled in Ruston, a suburb of Tacoma, because it had a large Croatian community. Eighty-five years later the Krilich descendants still practice many Croatian traditions, including cooking favorite Croatian meals. Sarma is one of their absolute favorite Croatian dishes! When they were growing up, they thought that the way they ate was how everyone ate!

Katherine and Joe are inspired by their late grandma, Mary Krilich Joyce because she was a strong woman who knew who she was and was fiercely proud of her Croatian heritage. She also always put family first. She inspired them to live their lives the same way. In order to enrich their lives with Croatian culture, Katherine and Joe became members of the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans when they were 5 years old. While in the group they learned traditional Croatian dancing and played Croatian music on traditional instruments.

Their dad, Steve, says that Katherine and Joe are big ambassadors of the Croatian culture. They love introducing their friends to their Croatian traditions, and inspiring people to learn more about Croatia. In fact, their friends tell them things like "I saw the Croatian flag on TV!" or "I saw the Croatian grb (coat of arms) on a t-shirt!"

The twins loved growing up Croatian. Katherine says she is very proud to be Croatian and she likes to share her culture with others. Joe loves the immediate connection he has within the Croatian community.

In 2004, Katherine and Joe got to visit their family in Croatia for the first time. They loved spending time with their relatives and visiting special places, such as the church where their great-grandparents were married. Both Katherine and Joe would like to stay in touch with their relatives and are excited to visit them again now that they are older. Their hope for the future is that they can get to know their Croatian roots even better than they do now, and that their own kids will be a part of the Seattle Junior Tamburitzans someday, just as they were.

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