At a recent Germanic and Slavic Department awards ceremony at the University of Victoria, two Comox Valley graduates were the recipients of the Geraldine and Peter Shostak scholarships in Ukrainian Studies.
Linda Donn, a graduate of Mark R. Isfield Secondary, is currently enrolled in her second year at the University of Victoria pursuing a career in music education.
Donn stated that the Ukrainian Studies course at UVic has demonstrated to her that “support for music and other arts is mirrored in the Ukrainian culture, and Ukrainian people’s open adoration for music and dance has inspired me to become more free in my performances.”
Inanna Sokil, a graduate of Georges P. Vanier Secondary, is also currently in her second year of studies.
“This is the first award I have ever received and it came as such a surprise,” said Sokil. “It gave me new motivation to study hard and it warmed my heart to know that people out there care about the arts and want to help support students.”
Sokil’s ambition is to pursue a career in anthropology, but she is not entirely sure how that will unfold.
“One thing I have always wanted to do is to visit Ukraine to see where my ancestors came from and visit relatives who still live there.”
Coincidentally, the Shostaks, who have established these two annual scholarships, are now residents of Courtenay. Prior to moving to the Comox Valley from Victoria, they both began their careers as educators. Geraldine was a primary grade teacher and for many years also taught Ukrainian language classes and choir at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in Victoria.
Prior to becoming a full-time artist in 1979, Peter spent 10 years as associate professor in the Faculty of Education at UVic.
“We are pleased to be in a position to make these scholarships available to our young students and wish them the best in their chosen careers.”