Future community leaders receive UCU scholarships

2019 UCU Scholarship recipients with UCU management and Directors

Daria Bajus, for New Pathway – Ukrainian News.

Every year, Ukrainian Credit Union Limited honors students and their achievements by awarding a variety of scholarships. This year, on Vyshyvanka Day, a holiday that celebrates national identity and unites Ukrainians world-wide, eight students with diverse educational backgrounds were brought together.

The seventh annual UCU Scholarship Awards Ceremony took place at Trident Banquet Hall in Etobicoke on May 16. Recipients expressed a chorus of thank you’s to the UCU Board of Directors as well as their friends and family for helping them get to where they are today.

Taras Rohatyn, Director and Chair of UCU’s Scholarship Committee, doubled as the Master of Ceremonies that evening. “The recipients are the cream of the crop,” he began enthusiastically.

“I’ve been in the chair’s position for three years and every year the quality of candidates has gotten better. I’m very surprised. Their involvement in the community, what they’re studying, and their academic achievements are beyond what I can comprehend,” he said.

The evening continued with speeches from Cassian Soltykevych, member of the national executive of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, and UCU CEO Taras Pidzamecky.

The Board of Directors distributed the scholarships. The Community Leadership Scholarships, presented to students who showed above average academic skills and demonstrated involvement in the Ukrainian community, were awarded to Alexandra Daschko, Melanie Kiebalo and Oksana Necio.

Daschko, a third year Bachelor of Nursing Science student at Queen’s University, reminisced about all the time she spent volunteering in the Ukrainian community and how she is now finally able to see the outcome. “I honestly feel so honoured,” Daschko said. “It is really nice to see a group of passionate people here today in all the respected fields. It really shows that our community is so diverse, and we can still come together to celebrate all our differences.”

Kiebalo, a Human Biology and Psych double major at U of T, described this award as proof that she’s “doing something right.”

“As young people we don’t have that much confidence in what we’re doing yet,” she explained. “So, to be validated by an outside group and to be given support financially means a lot in helping me take my next steps towards my career, hopefully in medicine.”

The Michael Rebryk Memorial Award, presented to a student who aspires to pursue a career in sports or sports medicine, was presented to Anna Kobylanska, a third year Kinesiology student at Queen’s University.

“Michael Rebryk enjoyed sports and the field I’m pursuing now. It’s exciting to follow in his footsteps,” said Kobylanska. “I’m really involved in the Ukrainian community, so it’s nice to be acknowledged for it, as well as to share what I’ve learned with everyone else. I hope that with this award and continuing in my journey, I’ll be able to share it more.”

The Board Chair’s Scholarship was awarded to Stephanie Turenko for her enrollment in Ukrainian studies. The University of Toronto Master of Education student defined this acknowledgment as “something really special.”

“By being part of so many non-profits for the volunteer work that I do, I see how much UCU gives back to the community,” she stated. “It’s such an honour to be one of those people that are being awarded something.”

When asked what she will do with the money, she laughed and said, “Put it in the bank and pay my first payment for school! It’s due in August…it’ll be in and out!”

Eugene Roman, former Chair of UCU’s Board of Directors, presented an award in his honour. This scholarship is awarded to a student who is studying in the technology sector. Adrian Sochaniwsky, who was in California for an engineering competition, was this year’s recipient.

The Wasyl Sytnyk Memorial Award was presented to Erica Yarmol, who aspires to pursue a career in the business or finance sectors. Daria Bajus, a Master of Journalism and Communication student at Western University, was the recipient of The New Pathway Fellowship, with an honour of contributing monthly articles to New Pathway for the duration of one year.

The recipients graciously congratulated each other along with a few words of thanks and conversations about their optimistic futures, which wouldn’t be as easily attainable without the generosity of the Ukrainian Credit Union.

“When it comes down to looking at the future of our organization, of our Ukrainian Canadian community, the recipients are going to be leaders,” said Rohatyn. “I look at these young recipients of the last seven years as potential leaders of our organization. That makes me feel good and makes me know there’s a good strong future for the Credit Union and for the kids who are receiving the awards.”

Daria Bajus is the recipient of this year’s New Pathway Fellowship by Ukrainain Credit Union Limited