FMPSD Celebrates Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day

Gwenna Cochrane Halinda (centre) - Photo Courtesy Greg Halinda PhotographyGwenna Cochrane Halinda (centre) - Photo Courtesy Greg Halinda Photography

For Addison Kumka the best part about being Ukrainian is enjoying the cultural dance. A grade 4 École Dickinsfield School student, Addison is one of our many students, who are excited to celebrate Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day today.

Started last year, September 7 was designated as Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day by the Government of Alberta. The date marks the day in 1891 when the first documented settlers from Ukraine arrived in the province.

“I like being Ukrainian because I enjoy Ukrainian dancing and watching others perform. We have fun making perogies and other Ukrainian food. I like wearing the special clothes. It makes me proud to be Ukrainian,” Addison shares.

Addison’s mom, Lee-Anne Kumka, appreciates the provincial recognition, and Fort McMurray Public School District highlighting the Eastern European nation.


                                                                                                    Addison (left) with her mom Lee-Anne and sister, Morley at a Ukrainian cultural event

“Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day gives us an opportunity to celebrate who we are as Ukrainians and as Canadians. To share this with our children allows us to connect as a family and a cultural group,” Kumka notes.

“It reminds them of our ancestors who worked hard to establish themselves. Most of all we share the beauty of our culture as a family through dance performance, art forms like pysanka, Ukrainian Easter egg decorating, bread braiding and of course tasty food. Our children’s school is supportive of Addison sharing this knowledge with her classmates and the entire school increasing her understanding and respect of Canada’s cultural mosaic.”

Gwenna Cochrane Halinda, a grade 9 student at École McTavish Public High School enjoys learning about her culture.

“My (paternal) grandma is Ukrainian so I like to learn about her culture and celebrate it. It's important to know about my Ukrainian heritage and other cultures too so we can understand and respect each other better.”

Bambi Lafferty (photo below), Educational Assistant, Timberlea Public School, echoes similar sentiments.

“I am happy to see that September 7 is now Ukrainian-Canadian Heritage Day because so many Ukrainian immigrants, my great grandparents included, helped shape the country and province we now live in.”