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A visit from Ukraine

Story began 10 years ago with newspaper story

Mustang Media staffer Maci Fletcher interviews Irina  Prakhnitskaya and one of her students for a story for The Coroando Crest.  Prakhnitskaya is a teacher form the English school in Ukraine who visited the newspaper class on Thursday with fellow teacher Natalia Myklaylichenko and eleven students.

Shaydon Bonner

Mustang Media staffer Maci Fletcher interviews Irina Prakhnitskaya and one of her students for a story for The Coroando Crest. Prakhnitskaya is a teacher form the English school in Ukraine who visited the newspaper class on Thursday with fellow teacher Natalia Myklaylichenko and eleven students.

Mason Carroll, Managing Editor

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Natalia Myklaylichenko was homesick.  She missed her native land of Ukraine and longed to speak her native language to a fellow countryman.  Then, she picked up a copy of The Coronado Crest.

In that issue was an article on exchange students at the school.  That is when she saw what she was looking for.  “Tetyana Voronyui, age 16, from Ukraine”.  That was 2005.

Voronyui was an exchange student living with host family Renea and Dawson Samples.  Through a series of contacts, Myklaylichenko and Voronyui were able to enjoy speaking to each other in Ukrainian about their homeland.

The rest, as they say, is history.  Myklaylichenko and Samples became good friends, She even refers to Samples as her “American Mom”.

Myklaylichenko returned to Ukraine and founded The English Club, where students join to learn, speak and practice English.  Today, Myklaylichenko, fellow teacher Irina  Prakhnitskaya and eleven of their students joined Samples and came to Coronado to visit Mustang Media to see where it all began 10 years ago.

The group visited an AP History class and an AP English class, but the focus of their visit was to interact with the staff of the Coronado Crest and to discuss journalism and democracy and how the two work together.  Ukraine is currently at war with Russia and the students want to experience the change that can happen through journalistic pursuits.

“These students are the future of our country, and we want them to experience how wonderful freedom and democracy are in America,” Myklaylichenko said.

UkrainePresident

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko

The President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, is pushing an initiative for his countrymen to learn and speak English.  He believes that speaking English is the best way for Ukrainians to connect with the rest of the world, especially the Untied States.

“The war has changed everyone’s life in Ukraine,” Prakhnitskaya said, “but learning English is a hopeful sign that things will get better.”

The group has been in Lubbock for three weeks, experiencing Christmas, New Year, and of course our blizzard, which was nothing new to them.

“Where we are from,” Prakhnitskaya said, “snow like this is normal.”

They have also visited Santa Land, Palo Duro Canyon, Carlsbad Caverns, and the Canadian Water Authority.

“We love the people of West Texas,” Myklaylichenko said, “you are so friendly with great big smiles!”

The students from Mustang Media and the students from Ukraine pose in front of the Welcome banner while holding the Ukrainian flag. A number of gifts were exchanged between the two groups.

Shaydon Bonner
The students from Mustang Media and the students from Ukraine pose in front of the Welcome banner while holding the Ukrainian flag. A number of gifts were exchanged between the two groups.

When Myklaylichenko and her group visited the Mustang Media class, the American students created a Welcome banner for them, signed by all.  The students also gave their new Ukrainian friends T-Shirts, 50th Anniversary Rowdy Rags and copies of the school news magazine, The Coronado Crest.

The Ukrainian group presented the American media students with scarfs of their country colors and samples of Ukrainian candy.  The group also brought cultural items to show and share with their new American friends.

Both groups hope to continue the relationship after the Ukrainian students leave for home on Monday.

“We are very excited about our new friends and will be corresponding with them and sending them copies of our magazines,” Mustang Media adviser Russell Hill said.  “We never expected to have circulation in Eastern Europe!”

More local coverage:  KCBD News Channel 11; Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

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