PERRYSBURG — A recent Perrysburg graduate and exchange student from Ukraine has decided to remain in the area and attend college here.
A fundraiser has been established to help Iryna Snahoshchenko, an exchange student from Ukraine who is a member of the Perrysburg High School Class of 2022.
The Perrysburg Schools Foundation, thanks to the donation of an anonymous Perrysburg alumnus and spouse, have created the Perrysburg Educational Aid Fund to aid Perrysburg High School graduates like Snahoshchenko in the continuation of their educational endeavors in the face of significant disruptions in their pursuit of a degree or certification.
Snahoshchenko plans to enroll at the University of Toledo, and local donors are being sought to cover the cost of her education and expenses for the coming academic year. Commitments have already come in from donors, totaling more than $25,000 and additional donors are being sought.
There will be an event hosted by the Old House in Waterville, 26 N. Third St., on Tuesday from 5-8 p.m., to benefit this fund. Snahoshchenko will be there to share about Ukraine and her experiences.
Snahoshchenko, a foreign exchange student through the Future Leaders Exchange Program, was interviewed for a Sentinel-Tribune graduation story in May. Lindsey Simpson and Nathaniel Wrestler had hosted her in their home since August 2021.
At the time, she did not have any plans after graduation. One of the biggest reasons was the war waging on in her homeland.
“It just came so sadly, and out of the blue, that I didn’t really have a plan,” Snahoshchenko said. “This time is definitely pretty much stressful for me and all my fellow people from Ukraine. … And obviously, come combining it with schoolwork, and with graduation, and all of those things that I have to do is, is pretty difficult.
“I just couldn’t believe that it was actually happening in my country. And that my parents were there. It’s just such an unforgettable experience in a bad way. And the first two weeks probably felt the worst. It was kind of surreal to just walk around the school and see people live their normal lives, while … all of my thoughts were there in Ukraine with my family and friends who I didn’t know what was happening to them, and what could happen to them. So, (it’s) definitely hard,” Snahoshchenko said.
She organized an item donation drive with Toledo Helps Ukraine at her school, gathering over 200 Clorox wipes. She’s also organized a bake sale and car wash.
“I just had to figure out what, what actions I had to do in order to somehow help Ukraine, even if it’s little, but I really, really wanted to help and spread the knowledge and gather money. And just help whatever I can. And I’m pretty sure that I will get through this. And so now, I just have to adjust and be flexible in the situation and just trying to do the best I can under those circumstances that I have,” Snahoshchenko said.
She is a part of Key Club, Interact Club, Environmental Club, Speech and Debate Club and takes Chinese. She performed in Perrysburg High School’s production of “The Addams Family.”
Snahoshchenko was recognized by the Perrysburg Board of Education in April as a Speech and Debate State Qualifier and in May as a member of the PHS Dance Team, which was eighth in Small Contemporary/Lyrical and 13th in Small Pom at the OASSA State Competition.
Those who are interested in supporting students through the Perrysburg Educational Aid Fund may do so at www.perrysburgschoolsfoundation.org, by texting PSFAID to 91999 or by contacting Jeff Abke, director of development for the Perrysburg Schools/Perrysburg Schools Foundation at 419-874-9131 ext. 2274 or [email protected].