A promising young Ukrainian musician and scholar has been given the chance to flee war in his home country and finish his education at Shawnigan Lake School.
Oleksandr (Sasha) Luchkov is a gifted pianist whose playing has garnered him local and international accolades, said a press release issued by the school.
Luchkov’s journey comes thanks to a partnership between the school and Thrive Refuge, a student-led organization founded at West Point Grey Academy by Isabelle Wang and Ray Zhang, who are currently in Grade 10 and 11, respectively.
“Isabelle and I are committed to supporting refugees through education centred on music,” Zhang said. “What made Shawnigan make sense as the partner school for Thrive Refuge (and Sasha) was the level of expertise and pastoral care that Shawnigan can deliver as a boarding school.”
Last year the organization helped Luchkov relocate from Ukraine to Italy in support of his musical ambitions.
Luchkov’s Vancouver-based and internationally recognized piano teacher, Ilana Vered, believes that he has the potential to go on to attend the New England Conservatory of Music, Yale School of Music or the Juilliard School after his Shawnigan experience.
The new student joins other Impact Scholars from Canada, Nepal, Afghanistan, and Ukraine at Shawnigan Lake School. Impact Scholars — those who have faced conflict, discrimination, or circumstances that impede their access to the growth and development that education offers — receive funding for their schooling.
“I encourage all independent schools in B.C. to explore different ways to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds. I firmly believe this is not just about the impact that we will have on these students, but, more importantly, the impact that they will have on our school communities,” says Head of Shawnigan Lake School Richard Lamont.
Luchov’s arrival in Canada and Shawnigan Lake School on Jan. 10 was aided by two Vancouver social media influencers: Aylex Thunder and Ricky Zhang, who have large followings. The pair hope to use their platforms, in partnership with Thrive Refuge, to help raise funds not just for Luchkov, but for other refugee students in the province.