San Antonio’s first Ukrainian school opens
San Antonio’s first Ukrainian school opened on Saturday at Our Lady of the Lake University.
The school will teach Ukrainian culture and language and will serve kids ages 4-12.
It was made possible through a collaboration with the local Ukrainian community, the Ukrainian Homestead Project, the City of San Antonio, OLLU, and District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia.
“We are working hard to preserve Ukrainian culture in San Antonio. Half of the kids [enrolled at the school] are refugees with horrible stories,” said Olenka Bravo. She is on the board of directors for the global organization Klych, which holds events in support of Ukraine. She’s also one of the teachers and co-founders of the new school.
The school will hold classes every two weeks at OLLU. The university is providing two classrooms inside Metz Hall.
The idea for the school came from Maria Shvetsova, a refugee from Ukraine that fled the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022. Maria has been active in the local Ukrainian community and was originally set to be a teacher at the school, but has since decided to move to Europe in the coming weeks.
“I am so glad that we are opening this now,” she said.
The school’s open date was initially set two weeks before but was rescheduled because of weather.
D4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia, an assistant marketing professor at OLLU, said at the ribbon cutting ceremony that she and Mayor Ron Nirenberg stand with the Ukrainian community.
“I really hope that the kids will enjoy the campus as much as I love coming here. I hope that you all get to learn about your culture. And on behalf of the Mayor who couldn’t be here, he also sends his best,” she added.
OLLU President Abel Antonio Chávez said this effort aligns with OLLU’s values of giving back.
“For 127 years, Our Lady of the Lake University has been caring for communities, people, [and] languages and culture. OLLU is so proud to continue to give back and to open our university to you all. This is your home,” he said.
Before cutting the ribbon, Bravo expressed gratitude for the opening of the school.
“On behalf of our Ukrainian community, we are very thankful to Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia and Dr. Chávez for allowing us to have [the] first Ukrainian school in San Antonio.”