‘Slava Ukraini’: Sask. Ukrainian school works to help those in Ukraine

The 155 students and 16 staff at Saskatchewan’s only Ukrainian bilingual school are pitching in to help those in Ukraine any way they can.

“It really shows off how connected people can be in a situation like this, especially Ukrainians. We’ve already won this fight. It’s our land and we’re not going to give it to anyone,” Grade 8 student Sofiia Garmasar told CTV News.

Garmasar was born in Ukraine and still has grandparents living there.

The phrase “Slava Ukraini,” which means “Glory to Ukraine,” is one Garmasar says is heard a lot these days at Bishop Filevich Ukrainian Bilingual School.

She’s putting it on a card she’s making along with other students in her school to be sent to Ukraine.

“I think if a soldier opened it, that would be really cool,” Garmasar said.

The cards are just one of the school’s ideas to get messages of hope and support to those in Ukraine.

“We want to reflect on that fact that we here in Canada can pray, have peace and hope and do what we can on our end to ensure that the people in Ukraine know we are supporting them,” Principal Stacia Horbay-Ugalde said.

She said the war has affected the mood at the school. Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools deployed its tragic event team to the school which included counsellors.

“It was very solemn and quiet. Lots of hugs. Lots of listening ears,” Horbay-Ugalde said.

Grade 7 student Maria Marko was also born in Ukraine and has family there including her brother and his wife. For now, they’re safe. They arrange daily phone calls.

“There are some good parts and some worries and maybe sometimes we cry but it’s a short time,” Marko said.

Students are making blue and yellow ribbons to sell, to raise money to send to Ukraine. They’re also assigning each classroom items to fill first aid kits to be sent to the front lines.

Many of the classroom windows are adorned with symbols of Ukrainian pride, including the tryzub — the coat of arms of Ukraine.

As of Monday, the Ukrainian flag was raised alongside the usual Canadian flag as a symbol of solidarity with those in Ukraine who may be a long way away geographically, but close to heart at this school.

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