This student is helping peers engage with Ukraine refugee crisis—here’s how


Alexander Skowronski hosted a zoom event for The Altamont School. (The Altamont School)

The Altamont School­ is giving its students important insight into what’s happening Ukraine and finding ways to show solidarity with those the war has displaced. Keep reading to learn how one student sparked engagement across his school and the community.

The Skowronskis

IMG 8734 This student is helping peers engage with Ukraine refugee crisis—here's how
Making a difference in his school and beyond. (The Altamont School)

Ninth grade student Alexander Skowronski and his family were deeply moved by the crisis surrounding the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year. Throughout the crisis, the family regretted that they weren’t able to immediately provide help to those in need.

When Russia invaded Ukraine, they didn’t want to miss any chance they had to help. The Polish family has ties to the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk, where current dangers are high.

Taking action

The Skowronski family is providing direct relief to refugees by using a property they own in Poland to shelter a mother and her children while their father serves in the Ukrainian army.

In addition to their personal efforts, the Skowronski family’s Fortuna Clinical Foundation launched an initiative to aid refugees from Ukraine.

The foundation is providing help to the regional hospital in the Ukrainian town of Ivano-Frankivsk and the refugee center in Yazlovets. They are also working with the Polish Universal Reading Foundation to provide Ukrainian language children’s’ books for refugees.

The condition of children­—either living as refugees or still in a war zone—is of special concern to Alexander Skowronski.

“Today, they should be worrying about the math test they have next week, instead, they’re worrying about their friends and family—will anybody be injured? For those who have fled, they’re worrying about those they’ve left behind.”

Alexander Skowronski, Student, The Altamont School

The Altamont School

Altamont School
Where it all happens. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

Skowronski is raising awareness about the needs of Ukranian refugees through media interviews and special events at The Altamont School. He organized an April 27 Zoom event featuring personal perspectives from:

  • Ukrainian physician Katia Zahorodnia
  • psychology professor and police lieutenant colonel Alexey Serdyuk
  • humanitarian aid workers Josh and Meg McClug
  • Ukrainian teens Veronika Velichko and Nastya Kuchmiy

This is only the beginning for Alexander Skowronski, who has chosen Ukrainian refugee relief as the topic for his multi-year service project with The Altamont’s C. Kyser Miree Leadership Center.

Beyond the classroom

The Altamont School 3 This student is helping peers engage with Ukraine refugee crisis—here's how
Teaching students about cultural and global issues all over. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

The work of Skowronski and his peers reflects The Altamont School’s globally conscious values and culturally diverse community. The Altamont students are exposed to cultural and global issues in their own backyard and around the world. 

The school plans to host another virtual event and several more related projects. Grades five through seven have worked on a short story writing project to share with refugees. The initiative stared by Skowronski is an amazing opportunity for The Altamont students to make a real impact.

“Engaging our students in authentic ways is always our priority. This is one of those wonderful opportunities in which school can extend beyond our classrooms, connect us with real people and become a catalyst for good.”

Niko Tsivourakis, English teacher, The Altamont School

The Altamont School works hard to graduate compassionate, well-educated individuals capable of independent thinking and innovative ideas. They are currently accepting applications for the 2022-2023 school year!

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