We recently got the opportunity to sit down with Rachel Geary, an Athletic Director and Activities Coordinator who's worked with Kyiv International School (KIS) for ten years. Since 1992, the private international school has served local families from Ukraine and hosted students from all over the world. KIS has created a vibrant global community for students in grades K-12 and will celebrate its 30th anniversary in September.
At the start of 2022, more than 800 students filled the halls of KIS each day. Rachel organized a variety of fun activities to suit the talents and nurture the skills of her students, including a creative outlet; the school's yearbook club, which she'd taken over as advisor in the 2020-2021 school year.
Since the beginning of the year, the senseless threat of war in Ukraine has loomed overhead but felt unlikely, as these dark historical events often do beforehand. With optimism and determination, life on campus at KIS remained calm and undisturbed until mid-February when, at the encouragement of local embassies, several students and their families began evacuating back to their home countries and other locations abroad.
On February 24, 2022, the world watched in horror as Russia invaded Ukraine. The unprovoked assault turned the community upside down, leaving a wake of chaos and immeasurable loss. Today, the majority of the KIS community is spread around the globe, with students and staff only able to connect virtually.
Having called Kyiv home for the last decade, Rachel and her own family were displaced in this crisis. At the time she spoke with us, she was working temporarily from Greece. Despite the devastating experience and tremendous loss, the people of Ukraine have been resilient and determined. The students and staff at KIS have been no exception.
The teachers continue to lead over Zoom, several students continue to learn virtually, and some of Rachel's students in the yearbook club have continued to attend meetings and drive its creation. The yearbook club has turned to Issuu to distribute their 2022 yearbook digitally instead of having it printed. It might feel like a small detail in the sobering reality of war, but it is one of the few ways the KIS community has been able to stay connected from afar.
It has been more than two months since this devastating war began. We continue to hold space and stand in solidarity with Ukraine and Ukrainians worldwide. We hope this story of Kyiv International School will serve as a reminder of the countless communities affected by this senseless tragedy and act as a call to action to help support in any way you can.
While most of the Kyiv International School community evacuated, 10% of the student body and staff stayed behind. There is an immediate need to help support those who've remained in Kyiv. Kyiv International School's parent company, Quality Schools International, has set up relief efforts to help find housing and provide assistance.
Visit Support Ukraine NOW
This is a globally crowdsourced list that’s updated in real-time with a wealth of materials and resources to inform readers on how to best support locally and from afar. Visit supportukrainenow.org for more information.
Visit Stand With Ukraine
Quality Schools International set up this website to help inform the extended school community and a global community about the tragic events in Ukraine and how to help support students and staff of Kyiv International School. Visit Stand With Ukraine - Kyiv International School for more information.
Donate to Kyiv International School
The faculty and staff at Kyiv International School have been directly affected by the tragedies of war. Since February, many have evacuated, while those who’ve remained have faced daily challenges. All have experienced loss and an overwhelming need for supplies.