Local English Teacher speaks out about Ukraine violence


Daniel Botello

Mrs Olena Simmons, the English teacher who spoke out about the violence in Ukraine.

Daniel Botello , Assistant Editor

As the violent Russian attacks on Ukraine surge on closer to the capitol city of Kyiv. Many citizens in both the United States and Ukraine are worried for the safety of themselves and others. Especially one local English teacher at VMHS. 

“Of course we are all very upset, frustrated, and very angry with what is going on in the world,” teacher Olena Simmons said. “We don’t like Putin and the Russian government interfering with Ukrainian Politics. We’d like to live our own life, Ukraine is a young country and developing democracy that doesn’t need any influence or support from Russia.“

As a Ukrainian immigrant herself, Simmons has closely monitored the headlines of newspapers and television to stay up to date on the current issues as she has family and loved ones who still live in Ukraine. 

“I’m Ukrainian American, my family lives in Ukraine, I have my parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces and a part of me lives in Ukraine as well,” Simmons said. “And even though I’m not physically present with them I feel the pain that they are feeling over there so I am always praying for them and thinking good thoughts for them.”

But her family is not only what she’s concerned about, she is also concerned for the local students who have active duty military family who have been sent off to  Ukraine to help aid the troops. 

“This shows that these conflicts are possible even now in the 21st century and I feel that the students here who have family here that are being sent overseas to help aid the troops are very worried for their safety and security,” Simmons said. “ And I feel that we should work together as a nation to keep peace and help protect the world’s democracy, so that these things don’t happen. ”