Cherokee’s New Ukrainian Club—Because Caring Is More Than A Trend


Eglė Plytnikaitė

Artist Eglė Plytnikaitė creates this work to bring awareness to the war in Ukraine.

Upon the inception of the war between Ukraine and Russia in February of 2022, overwhelming support for Ukraine swept through social media, as well as through commercial advertisements and news channels. But more than a year later, as the war wages on, that prominent awareness has drifted from the societal forefront; that support has slowly dissolved, much like any social media “trend,” but humanitarian crises should never be treated as trends.

To combat this narrative, sophomore Sophia Peterson founded the Cherokee Ukrainian Club: a group that seeks to learn about Ukrainian culture, raise awareness about the war in Ukraine, and raise funds to donate toward the cause. Under the advisement of Ms. Ingrao and the collaborative efforts of the club leaders—Sophia, Grace Gorsline, and Akriti Thavanai—the club has grown rapidly since its debut meeting in February. 

They kicked off with a highly successful sticker-sale fundraiser, raising over $500 for children in Ukraine. Many students also had the opportunity to volunteer at a local Ukrainian church.

“It was a really wholesome experience,” says sophomore member Puja Patel. “We learned how to make pierogies [traditional potato dumplings], we spoke with the pastor, and we listened to the church community sing Ukrainian songs. It was fun and a good insight into their culture.” 

During the various meetings this spring, students tasted Ukrainian foods, colored traditional Ukrainian pysanky templates, and learned to write their names in the Cyrillic alphabet. By holding even more interactive meetings next year, the club hopes to bring Ukraine back to the forefront and educate our student body and our community on its importance. With goals of future trips, school-wide multicultural events, and more, they are confident that their plans will come to fruition; though the school year is coming to an end, the Cherokee Ukrainian Club is just getting started.