Grade 5 student co-teaches the Holodomor to her classmates

On January 3, 2023 a special class featuring the Holodomor was presented by HREC’s director of education Valentina Kuryliw and her eleven year old granddaughter Nina Kuzmycz at Amber Heights Elementary School in Seattle, Washington. There were 25 grade 5 students in attendance who viewed a video interview with a survivor and heard Kuryliw’s family history during the Holodomor, followed by a short PowerPoint presentation of basic information about the Holodomor. Included were some photographs from the current invasion and war on Ukraine and its connection to continued Russian aggression and destruction of Ukraine.

Valentina teaching
The class asked numerous questions about human rights and the war in Ukraine, with which they were surprisingly familiar, and in the discussion that followed they were able to make connections between the Holodomor and the current actions of Russian soldiers and Putin’s policies in Ukraine. Nina concluded the presentation by highlighting two current historical fiction novels about the Holodomor – Winterkill by author Marsha Skrypuch and the graphic novel Five Stalks of Grain by Adrian Lysenko. She encouraged students to study topics like the Holodomor through historical fiction. The class teacher saw an excellent opportunity to learn about genocide and human rights atrocities by bringing in a guest, on the initiative of her student, to co-present with her as a descendent of Holodomor survivors during their social studies program. A copy of Kuryliw’s workbook Holodomor in Ukraine was gifted to the school library.

Classroom picture