Immaculate Heart of Mary School celebrated a significant milestone for the Ukrainian-Canadian community at the school’s Ukrainian week from March 20 to 24.
The years of 2016-2017 mark 125 years of Ukrainian settlement in Canada and IHMS principal Rod Picklyk said it is important for children to understand the sacrifices that their ancestors made to immigrate to Canada.
"It’s important for the children to have an understanding of the past and of the pioneers that came before them and that when they arrived, they had to persevere, and there were sacrifices, but they wanted to make a better life for future generations," he explained.
IHMS puts on Ukrainian week every year just before spring break to share Ukrainian costumes and traditions with the students. The school is an Ukrainian Catholic school with students come from all over the world, and although not all students have a
Ukrainian heritage, Picklyk said all students are excited to learn about the culture.
"(Ukrainian week) brings me closer to my parents’ culture. It’s nice to know about my past culture and what’s locked behind in Ukraine," Grade 8 student Nadia Medynska said, adding her parents immigrated to Canada before she was born.
Ukrainian week provides different learning activities to the students. This year, all of the families filled out a family’s journey form explaining how they immigrated to Canada and what country they came from. A big world map on display identifies the school’s diversity. Another highlight this year was a scavenger hunt. Students had to look for answers at an exhibit called Journey to Canada: Making a New Home provided by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress Manitoba Provincial Council (UCCMB).
Anne Pidskalny, IHMS director, said Ukrainian week brings cultural pride to the students and help them understand how the settlers helped build Canada.
"The children can remember who they are and appreciate their roots and what the parents and grandparents have done for them as they came to Canada," Pidskalny said. "We’ve studied the pioneer hardships just so this can truly be appreciated a little bit more of what it means to be Ukrainian and what we have brought to Canada."
The week’s grand finale was a concert where all the grades dressed up in traditional costumes to sing Ukrainian songs. After spring break, students will learn to make copper tooling art.