PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla (WMBB) — An Arnold High School student from Ukraine is stepping in to help tutor her younger peers in Bay County from Ukraine.
16-year-old Daryna Antoshko was visiting Panama City Beach when war broke out in her home country. As a result, Antoshko and her family were unable to return home.
“Because the first time when war just started, I felt really bad because, like all my friends, families, all Ukrainians, now they’re in danger,” said Antoshko.
West Bay Elementary and Arnold High School reached out through social media to connect their Ukrainian students.
“They needed to hear her voice and to know that there was someone kind of like common with them,” said Arnold Assistant Principal Jonathon Moore. “Through that, we kind of we’re talking about math and school and everything. Then we started asking them, you know, just basic life questions because now they’re somebody that can speak the language.”
Antoshko volunteered to help translate and tutor the younger students. She said this is a way for her to contribute to her country from afar.
“Situation of war and immigrants and all of that is like my way of helping Ukrainians that come here,” said Antoshko. “That way, I don’t feel myself useless.”
Every week, the schools coordinate their schedules. Antoshko even offers up her lunchtime to help the students with math. Antoshko said it’s a drastic change and takes a while to understand the American system.
“So, I explain to the other Ukrainians that come to my school how our American education system works so it will be easier for them,” said Antoshko. “It’s their first time.”
Another difficulty Ukrainian students are facing is transferring their class credits. For some Ukrainian students coming to the U.S., learning becomes one of the last things they worry about.
“He’s like Ukrainian, and his city is completely destroyed,” said Antoshko. “So, 90% of cities do not exist anymore. So it is just the garbage rocks or no buildings like nothing, so his city is completely destroyed.”
Even though Antoshko is watching the horror unfold in Ukraine from a different country, she still keeps those back home close to her heart.
“I’m not there, but I cannot imagine how it’s for people who are now there because I will get photos of my city bombed and I see places like, I was at this place every Friday with my mom to shop and now my friend dead in this place because she lived in a house that was bombed,” said Antoshko.
Antoshko said several of her fellow classmates are scattered all around the world due to the war. Some are still in Ukraine.