Number of Participants: 8
Hours Donated: 4
Value of Time Served: $270
Event Type: Humanitarian Service
Date: April 11, 2022
Wellington C. Mepham High School
Camp Avenue, Bellmore
Wellington C. Mepham High School senior Victoria Konyk has ties to Ukraine and has been spearheading relief efforts both at home and at school to assist in any capacity.
Her parents immigrated to the United States at the turn of the century.
“Most of my extended family still lives in Ukraine, and the culture, language and history heavily influence my everyday life,” she explained. “My sister and her son escaped and are now living with us. Nazar, my nephew, is 3 and asks me every day when he will be able to see his dad, who cannot leave Ukraine. My uncle and cousin are actively defending their nation.”
When the crisis in Ukraine first began, Konyk and her family were shocked, but knew they had to begin mobilizing immediately.
“First, we helped pack donations to send to Ukraine,” she explained. “We still continue to spend weekends at our cultural center packing thousands of boxes. I also organized a Ukrainian candy sale in school.”
This was highly successful because it shared traditional Ukrainian candy with her Mepham peers, while simultaneously fundraising.
Social studies chairperson Robyn Einbinder helped Konyk set up the donation drive and start the candy drive. In addition, teachers Sarah Bender and Allyson Alciviades helped with the candy sale by organizing Senior Experience students to assist.
Konyk’s church held a pierogi sale, which she extended to Mepham.
“This fundraiser was opened to the faculty, and I sold over 140 boxes of pierogis,” Konyk explained.
Einbinder, teacher Jaclyn Kratzer, and administrative assistant Peggy Schroeder were instrumental in the success of the pierogi sale, Konyk added. Assistant Principal Andrew DelRosario has also stepped in, as well as ample support from the rest of the administrative team.
She also organized and has extended a relief supply drive at Mepham because “so many students and parents asked if they could continue donating.”
“The student body at Mepham has also supported me and my efforts to raise money and help Ukraine,” she added. “Students took time to talk to me and check in about my family during the candy sale. Those students who helped me sell candy were amazing. Hundreds of donations were collected by students to be sent overseas. Walking through the halls and seeing my classmates wearing “Slava Ukraini” (Glory to Ukraine) pins reassures me that someone cares about everything that is happening.”
Konyk said her motivation has been steadfast and clear.
“My family, my brother, and all the innocent Ukrainians did not ask to be attacked, and they did not ask to be in danger,” she said. “They did not provoke this war. If I can help by doing something, then I have to.”
Future plans include a collaboration with a freshman, Riley Adams, who connected with Konyk and shares a passion for fundraising and spreading information.
“We plan to make another candy sale and possibly create a video to share information with all the history classes,” she added. “We also plan to make a districtwide blue and yellow day.”
- Mepham High School senior Victoria Konyk and freshman Riley Adams have recently partnered with to spread the word about the war in Ukraine.
- Mepham High School senior Victoria Konyk.
- Mepham students Mustapha Cheema, Delaney Lobell and Victoria Konyk volunteered at a candy sale. Proceeds benefitted Ukrainian relief efforts.
- Mepham High School senior Victoria Konyk and her sister Julia, who recently escaped the war in Ukraine with her son.
Photos courtesy of Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District