First Ukrainian school opens in San Antonio

“We are here to make sure that they continue their culture,” Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia said.

SAN ANTONIO – As the war in Ukraine continues, a refugee now living in San Antonio made it her mission to keep her culture alive in her new home.

On Saturday, she celebrated the opening of the first Ukrainian school in our area.

Since fleeing her home country Ukraine last May, Mariia Shvetsova has dreamed of opening a Ukrainian school.

“It was nine months as, like, child. And I’m so happy what we did it,” Shvetsova said.

Now that dream has become a reality with a partnership with Our Lady of the Lake University.

There are two adjacent classrooms inside Mets Hall, where 20 students are currently enrolled.

“It’s very important that children can do a study about Ukrainian language, about Ukrainian culture. It’s our culture,” Shvetsova said.

The classes, which meet twice a month every other Saturday, focus on language and culture

District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia works at OLLU and acts as a liaison for Ukrainian San Antonio.

“It shows that San Antonio stands with Ukraine. We’re going to welcome everybody with open arms. We are a compassionate city and this is exactly what we’re doing today,” Garcia said.

While the Ukrainian school is starting out small, OLLU President Abel Chavez is hoping that it’ll grow and expand to other students as well.

“Go beyond arts and culture. Perhaps it’s multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, so much the way that we are approaching higher education here on our campus,” Chavez said.

The opening of the school comes as Ukraine’s commander-in-chief released a new video foreshadowing a counter-offensive could be coming.

The video shows Ukrainian troops training, marching, and preparing for battle.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.