Vegreville Ukrainian Bilingual Program class puts on a show for U of A Ukrainian language students

On 8 April 2019, the grade 6 class of the Ukrainian Bilingual Program at A. L. Horton Elementary School in Vegreville visited the University of Alberta. They attended a Ukrainian language class, practiced communicating with the U of A students studying Ukrainian, and practiced their Ukrainian language skills by participating in various class activities.

08 July 2019

Afterwards, the faculty and students were treated to a surprise, as the visiting children put on an impromptu show for their university hosts. Titled "Malanka," the performance included a montage of texts and poetry as well as songs, all in Ukrainian, accompanied by dance and instrumental music. The audience happily hummed or sang along to familiar tunes and watched breathlessly as the children performed traditional hopak acrobatics. The Ukrainian Bilingual Program class was awarded with admiring applause and shouts of "Bravo!" at the end of their exciting show.
One of the university students remarked, "I was so impressed at their ease in reciting and singing in Ukrainian-those were authentic texts and lyrics!"
We asked Murray Howell, Vegreville's Ukrainian Bilingual Program grade 6 teacher, to share the "secret to success" of the schoolchildren in their performance:
Our bilingual program students have the opportunity not only to learn the Ukrainian language but also to study Ukrainian traditions and immerse themselves in Ukrainian culture. In addition, we encourage them whenever possible to demonstrate their knowledge and skills during events like our visit today. This has a very positive effect on the development of their creative abilities, and we support them however we can. Every such event is so joyful for our young participants, inspiring and motivating them to continue studying Ukrainian language and culture. In addition, events like this serve as a great promotion of our program: the number of students starting the bilingual program at our school has been increasing every year. And among them, the number with no Ukrainian roots is increasing too.
We asked Taneen Rudyk, the mother of one of the Vegreville schoolchildren, "What motivates parents to sign their children up for the Ukrainian bilingual program at A. L. Horton School?"
I personally have no Ukrainian roots, but I signed up my children for the Ukrainian program because I wanted them to be bilingual. Scientific studies have shown that bilingual children score higher on developmental indicators than their [monolingual] peers. They have better results not only in humanities subjects but also in the hard sciences. In addition, the Ukrainian Bilingual Program at our school has a strong cultural component. I believe that immersion in another culture promotes the fostering of tolerance in children, respect for "otherness," and makes them flexible and open in evaluating their surroundings. These qualities are very important in today's global world.
Without a doubt, all the participants were extremely pleased with the event-faculty, students, teachers, schoolchildren, parents, and guests. Supporting organizations included the Ukrainian Language Education Centre (a unit of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies) and the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, as well as the Ukrainian Bilingual Program at A. L. Horton Elementary School in Vegreville. ULEC thanks very kindly the bilingual program students, their teacher Murray Howell, parent committee representative Taneen Rudyk, volunteers, guests, and everyone else involved, without whom this event would not have been such a success.

Elementary and University Students, following the show