Kingussie High School pupils, Valeriia Muliar and Kateryna Kedyk, shared their experiences of the support which has been given to pupils and their families from Ukraine since joining the local community in Kingussie.
Valeriia began by touching on her journey to Highland from her home in Kiev, the capital city of Ukraine.
She explained some of the challenges she faced during this time but also on the kindness of school peers and teachers by helping when she needed it.
Valeriia also explained the extra effort for homework she put in initially in preparation for the upcoming exams and remarked on her future plans to go onto further education at a Scottish University.
Kateryna shared with the Committee the warm welcome she experienced when arriving in Scotland.
She went on to explain the helpful information given to her at the school’s welcome session, and importantly, the opportunity to speak with and get to know some of the pupils and staff.
Joining a new school in a new country can be an overwhelming experience but Kateryna noted that her first day went better than she expected and now she feels confident in school as a result of the support she received from her school community.
The pupils were joined by their Head Teacher, Ian Adamson, who highlighted the steps which the school had taken to make the transition into the school a little easier.
These included reaching out to meet families, gifting school uniforms and supplies, and creating social events so families could foster a relationship with the wider community.
Some of the social events and activities included biking sessions to explore the local area, crazy golf sessions, school dances, corporate leisure memberships to use local leisure facilities, and securing tickets to sport and art events.
Ukrainian parents were also welcomed to use the school’s Home Economics department to make some home cooked food to have a taste of home.
Education Chair, Cllr John Finlayson said:
“It has been a privilege listening to Valeriia and Kateryna.
“It is important that we hear directly from our pupils who have joined us from Ukraine so we can gain a greater understanding from their perspective on the challenges they are facing in their new life in Highland, and how we can support them within our communities.
“We were delighted to have both pupils with us and it is clear how appreciative we were by the standing ovation received from Members.
“I am pleased to hear how well they are doing at school and wish them, and all of our pupils, the very best on their upcoming examinations.
“I would also like to thank our Area Staff, Kingussie High School staff and the wider community for all the support they give to pupils and families.”