KINGSTON, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The flight of two young Ukrainians from the war-torn country has brought them to our area.
Artur Zelenko, a 14-year-old of Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine has only been living in the United States for less than two weeks. This ninth grader began his high school career on September 19 as a boarding student at Wyoming Seminary’s Upper School in Kingston.
“We don’t have education, we study online, maybe we don’t study. It’s hard to be in Ukraine and get a good education. I know U.S., one of the most good education in the world and I would like to get there,” said Arthur Zalenko, Ukrainian refugee, and SEM student.
And it was his determination that got him here.
Artur contacted about 50 schools within the U.S. asking if he could enroll, and Wyoming Seminary was the only high school that welcomed him to this campus.
“I write biography, who I am, my grades, what sports I do, my achievements,” Zalenko added.
Eyewitness News asked, “How did you feel when Wyoming Seminary said yes, you can come here?
“I do not believe this, I was so excited, I like it here so much, it’s wonderful,” Zalenko continued.
Wyoming Seminary also answered the call of Maryna Barsukova. This 15-year-old from Cherkasy, in Central Ukraine is also a boarding student at Sem. The ninth grader has been in the U.S. since February, the start of the war in Ukraine.
“My dad lives here for eight years and he took me from Ukraine when war, was started, I feel safe. Ukraine not good situation right now, everyone here so nice I’m happy to be here,” said Maryna Barsukova, Ukraine Refugee and SEM student.
Artur and Maryna are a part of a diverse and global community at Wyoming Seminary (SEM). More than 100 International students attend SEM, a private school nestled in the Wyoming Valley. The school, founded in 1844 boasts an extensive curriculum with small class sizes and dedicated faculty. A type of education that comes with a hefty price tag. But thanks to generous donors and a newly formed foundation SEM is happy to help kids in need.
“We’re taking a leap of faith I don’t know if they’ll be fully funded through the end of the year, the administration was behind it, the board members were behind it, when you have that kind of support you’re making the decision in the best interest of the child,” said Dan Rocha, the Head of Wyoming Seminary.