Ukrainian refugees studying at Woodstock Academy share post-graduation plans

Ukrainian refugees studying in CT share post-graduation plans
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:22 PM EDT
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WOODSTOCK, CT (WFSB) - The stage is quite literally set at Woodstock Academy.

Graduation is this Saturday and preparations are well underway.

298 students will walk across the stage and families will fill the field.

But for 10 Ukrainian students, their support will be thousands of miles away.

“My parents cannot leave the country,” Woodstock Academy Senior Oleksandr Stasovskyi said. “My father because he’s in the military and my mother because she’s a doctor.”

Stasovskyi is in America all on his own. He’s getting ready to graduate and will soon head to Harvard University.

“I’m super excited about college and going there,” Stasovskyi said.

Yehor Bezshchasnyi is also from Ukraine.

“If I was here alone it would be much harder for me to adapt here and try to live a normal life,” Bezshchasnyi said.

Bezshchasnyi arrived in America a little over a year ago. Like Stasovskyi, his first stop was Woodstock Academy.

“I really like the education system here because I study what I want,” Bezshchasnyi said.

The school took in the ten refugees shortly after the war began.

“I think there was a bombing every day in my city,” Bezshchasnyi said.

“For me it was a new experience going to an American school,” Stasovskyi said.

Stasovskyi is considering a career in physics. Bezshchasnyi is exploring economics. He’ll study at Columbia. The pair both considered coming to America for college one day, but the war sped that process up.

“Everything just turned around in one day,” Bezshchasnyi said.

Once in America, the pair says it took some getting used to; but, having other Ukrainian students in the same situation made it all a little easier.

“I would not have any sense of home,” Bezshchasnyi said. “With them I feel much better.”

None of the ten are returning to Ukraine. They’re all headed to college, many of them to Ivy Leagues. Although their paths may not cross again after this weekend, they all share the same feeling of gratefulness for Woodstock Academy and Connecticut.

“It’s absolutely different from the experience I had in Ukraine,” Stasovskyi said.

“I’ve lived here for a year and this weekend my journey here ends,” Bezshchasnyi said.