Weston Today photos
Seventh-grade Weston students met students from Siversk, Ukraine this week on a live video call arranged by Ukraine Aid International, the relief organization that facilitated the Sister City Partnership between Weston and Siversk.
The Ukrainian children are on a mountain retreat funded by Weston donations, a chance to reconnect with classmates and teachers they have been separated from since the onset of the war, even longer in some cases due to the pandemic. They met students from the Weston Middle School class taught by Barbara George, who with principal Dan Doak and members of Weston’s sister city committee arranged the connection.
First Selectwoman Samantha Nestor and Siversk Mayor Alexei Vorobyov made brief introductions, then the student groups had a chance to ask each other questions: what a typical day consists of, what they study, the traditions of their schools, and what the camp is like.
Bogdan Shestopalov of the UAI team translated for the Ukrainian students, Iryna Akolzina of Weston’s committee translated here.
Weston students gave a brief presentation about our town, describing the rural setting, the town center, wildlife, the reservoir, and the School Road campus.
Siversk students described their city’s three schools, sports complex, music school, and arts club building. One talked about the Bakhmutovka River and the small but “magnificent” waterfall nearby, the town’s railroad station, the horseshoe-shaped “Swan Lake,” and a nearby hill that was an important military location in 2014, one where scavenger hunts still turn up debris from that preceding conflict.
It is not clear how much still exists of the Siversk remembered by its children. In a call with Ms. Nestor on January 22, Mr. Vorobyov said 18 more buildings had been destroyed in just the previous few days. The war still rages a stone’s throw from Siversk.
The Ukrainian students were dispersed to relatively safer parts of the country long ago. At the camp, they have classes in the morning, nature and recreational activities later, and at various times programs like art therapy. For many, this is the last time they will be together. The next destination for ninth graders among them is a trade school.Donations to the Weston fund to assist Siversk and its children remain welcome.
November 14, 2023: Weston Aid to Siversk for Medical Care
October 13, 2023: New Aid for Siversk and Its Children
September 28, 2023: An Urgent Plea From Siversk
July 28, 2023: First Weston Aid to Siversk Set for Delivery
June 30, 2023: Weston and Siversk: Partnership, Friendship
June 26, 2023: Siversk Partnership to Launch
May 17, 2023: Weston, Siversk in Sister City Partnership