War in Ukraine horrifies school community [Opinion]


February 24, 2022, is certainly not a date to be forgotten, especially by certain students at Walsh Jesuit.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “special military operation” in the Luhansk region of Ukraine, but it is a full-scale invasion. Ukraine’s independence has been threatened multiple times over the past centuries, since the creation of the medieval territory known as Kyiivan Rus’.

One of the most horrific events in Ukrainian history was the Holodomor, or “Death by Starvation.” From 1932-1933, nearly 4 million people were starved to death under Joseph Stalin.

Senior Emilia Polataijko and I, along with many others at Walsh Jesuit, agree that it is incredibly heartbreaking and frustrating to see our country have to fight for its freedom in our day and age. Putin falsely claims that Ukraine is not an independent nation but part of the federation of Russian states.

Students at WJ have certainly felt the tragedy more than others, as we have family in Ukraine. It has been the primary thought in our minds for the past several days. I even struggled to be happy with the fact that I had qualified for districts for bowling, because it suddenly seemed so insignificant.

Personally, I have been feeling constant anxiety over the whole situation. Much more of my time is spent reading the news, various articles, and discussing the situation with my family. In fact, nearly my entire weekend was occupied by Ukrainian-related activities.

Emilia is feels the same. She said, “I haven’t been able to focus on any of my homework…I didn’t even know if I was ready to come into school on Monday.” Freshman Nicholas Jakubowycz added, “It’s a general worry for me. I’ve been trying not to think about it too much.”

These students reflect the fear, loss of control, and insignificance that we all feel. After all, being Ukrainian is part of our identities, a major part of who we are. Now it’s all being threatened again.

It’s also important to recognize what news is true and what is false. Propaganda is easily spread in this day and age, and it can be tricky to distinguish which is which.

Sophomore Melanie Jakubowycz is one of many who has family and friends living in Ukraine. She admited, “I’m rather resigned. My family and I knew it was coming, but it was still such a shock.”

The rest of us all have spent time in the last few days desperately trying to get in contact with families, making sure they are alive. For someone who has never had the chance to meet my extended family, the idea of losing one of them is still terrifying, especially since most of the men, from the young to the old, have taken up arms.

Facing these fears and anxiety along with anger can be difficult to explain to other people. It can be even more difficult to see others making jokes about the whole situation. While memes are funny to an extent, it becomes unfunny when jokes center on the attack on free people, refugees trying to save themselves, and an entire culture and history being threatened. It’s important to recognize that this is an unprovoked war against a free country, with innocent people being killed and displaced. It is nothing short of tragic and heartbreaking.

It’s also important to recognize what news is true and what is false. Propaganda is easily spread in this day and age, and it can be tricky to distinguish which is which. Find reliable news sites and spread the truth to others who might be unaware.

Showing support for Ukraine is not difficult. It’s as easy as calling the White House Comment Line as well as your representatives and senators to leave a message confirming that you support the US standing up to Putin’s unprovoked aggression. Another supportive action is through donation. Responsible and reliable organizations have been collecting funding for the fight and humanitarian aid:

  • RazomforUkraine.org
  • Ucca.org
  • Uaarc.org

Listen and be respectful. It’s a war, and so much more.