“A genocide begins with the killing of one man…” LUCW Edmonton – first annual Holodomor essay contest

    Lidia M. Wasylyn, League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, Edmonton Branch.

    Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan stated: “A genocide begins with the killing of one man–not for what he has done, but because of who he is”. This concept reflects the tragic truth of all genocides and the Holodomor is no exception. The Edmonton branch of the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women (LUCW) established a Holodomor Essay contest in 2020 to help young adults develop a deeper understanding of the Holodomor. The contest encourages junior and senior high school students in the Ukrainian-English Bilingual Programs in the Edmonton area and the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies to learn more about the Holodomor and why it is important to remember the Holodomor in 2020 and to honour the victims.

    The Edmonton Branch of the LUCW is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Holodomor Essay Contest. Students earning a first place were awarded $250.00. Second place was awarded $200, third place was awarded $150.00 and fourth place received $100.00

    In the junior high school category, all the winners happen to be grade 9 students and attend Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School, in Sherwood Park, Alberta. First place was awarded to Marya Stelmach. Second place to Teanna Mackney. Third place was awarded to Amelia Brown and fourth place went to Thomas Blades.

    In the high school category first place was awarded to Tetyana Shelevach, grade 10 at the Tempo School in Edmonton and who also attends the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies. Second place went to Khrystyna Kornylo, grade 11 at Austin O’Brien Catholic High School in Edmonton.

    The LUCW was delighted to have three respected professionals as judges for the essay contest. Rena Hanchuk is a graduate of the University of Alberta where she earned her BA and MA degrees in Ukrainian Language and Folklore. She taught Ukrainian in the English-Ukrainian bilingual program as well as at the university level. Later, she taught social studies and history at the high school level. Marco Levytsky is well known to the readers of this paper as he is the Western Bureau Chief for the New Pathway – Ukrainian News, as well as a long-serving member of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Holodomor Committee. He is a professional journalist with a passion for all matters Canadian Ukrainian and is highly respected for his integrity, objectivity, generosity and determination to keep our community well informed. Boris Radyo taught all subjects at the elementary, junior and senior high levels and also served as principal at several schools in Edmonton. His most recent position was Assistant Superintendent Educational Planning with the Edmonton Catholic School District, a position he held for 11 years before retiring in 2018.

    The Edmonton Branch of the LUCW was established in 1953. Over the decades, the Branch has been engaged in political advocacy, cultural and educational programming for youth and families as well as various charitable works. The Edmonton Branch is extremely proud of its advocacy for the recognition of the Holodomor, the Ukrainian Famine Genocide of 1932-1933 as genocide through Bill 37: Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act passed unanimously by the Legislative Assembly of Alberta in 2008. Other recent projects supported by the Branch include The Pier 21 project at the Canadian Museum of Immigration and the Guardian Angels Ukraine Project supporting medical treatment, rehabilitation and social re-integration of soldiers wounded in the war in Eastern Ukraine.

    The Edmonton Branch of the LUCW congratulates all the participants and winners of the 2020 Holodomor Essay Contest. A big thank you goes out to our judges for their enthusiasm and willingness to volunteer their time to assess the essay and provide personalized comments to each entrant. A special thank you is in order to the Brotherhood of Ukrainian Catholics Alberta Branch who provided generous financial support for the administrative costs of running this essay contest.

    Plans are already underway for the 2021 Holodomor Essay Contest. Given that the Holodomor is a subject in the Alberta curriculum, the Edmonton Branch of the LUCW is considering opening up the contest to all junior and senior high school students in the Edmonton area.