In all classes in Kansas City, children talk about Ukraine. But at Oak Park High School in Northland — there’s a special bond. Oleksandr Ivanov, professor of German and engineering for 10 years at the OPHS — is Ukrainian. “You want to live real life here,” he said, gesturing. at the Oak Park High School Library. “At the same time, you want to know everything that’s going on there. So whenever you don’t live here,” he pointed to the table, “you live there,” and he pointed to the East. “I try to watch any kind of videos, anything from that part of the world and the reports to clarify the situation there. You want to consume all of that.” For a decade, students have been coming to Ivanov with engineering questions. But for the past few months, he’s been answering questions that have nothing to do with AutoCAD. “Some students were pouring in, asking a lot more questions. The support from students and staff is very nice, I would say, all about Ukraine,” Ivanov said Friday morning. In the past, Ivanov said he would receive a few questions from a handful of students. It has been almost 20 years since Ivanov left his native Ukraine. But sometimes it feels like it was yesterday. “It makes you think of how grateful you are to live here,” he said, “worms in Ukraine when there is an active war: every time your building might be destroyed by crazed Russians.” Ivanov says it is difficult to reach his mother, who is in his hometown in western Ukraine. He said it’s partly due to jet lag, but more so it’s “the mermaids go there every day, it just depends on which part of Ukraine is under threat.” He said: “I know that every city has a siren several times. They say it’s an average of 68% of the day that people react to sirens, kind of a warning there. “A lot of the Ivanov’s day keeps him with the industrial arts teachers. Michael Chrane is one of them; it teaches students how to use power tools and woodworking. “I was sitting here one day thinking about what we can do to show our support for him,” Chrane said of Ivanov, “and so I thought ‘well, let’s do a flag.’ It took a lot of scheming to pull off this surprise in the Industrial Arts Shop – after all, there are students in there all day, and few high schoolers can keep a secret. But the end result is a banner carved to make it look like it’s rippling in the breeze. It’s painted in Ukrainian blue and yellow. “These colors, they mean a lot to me,” Ivanov said with a smile. “It just shows that ‘they care about me, you know, and they support me.’ Made of oak, by the community of Oak Park – for Ukraine.

In all classes in Kansas City, children talk about Ukraine. But at Oak Park High School in Northland, there is a special bond.

Oleksandr Ivanov, professor of German and engineering for 10 years at the OPHS, is Ukrainian.

“You want to live real life here,” he said, gesturing in the Oak Park High School library. “At the same time, you want to know everything that’s going on there. So whenever you don’t live here,” he pointed to the table, “you live there,” and he pointed to the East. “I try to watch any kind of videos, anything from that part of the world and the reports to clarify the situation there. You want to consume all of that.”

For a decade, students came to Ivanov with engineering questions. But for the past few months, he’s been answering questions that have nothing to do with AutoCAD.

“Some students were pouring in, asking a lot more questions. The support from students and staff is very nice, I would say, all about Ukraine,” Ivanov said Friday morning. In the past, Ivanov said he would receive a few questions from a handful of students.

It has been almost 20 years since Ivanov left his native Ukraine. But sometimes it feels like it was yesterday.

“It makes you think of how grateful you are to live here,” he said, “worms in Ukraine when there is an active war: every time your building might be destroyed by crazed Russians.”

Ivanov says it is difficult to reach his mother, who is in his hometown in western Ukraine. He said part of that is due to jet lag, but even more so is “the sirens go there every day, it just depends on which part of Ukraine is under threat.”

He said: “I know every town has a siren several times a day. They say it’s an average of 68% of the day when people react to sirens, kind of a warning there.”

Much of Ivanov’s day keeps him with the Industrial Arts teachers. Michael Chrane is one of them; he teaches students how to use power tools and work with wood.

“I was sitting here one day thinking about what we can do to show our support for him,” Chrane said of Ivanov, “and so I thought ‘well, let’s do a flag.’

It took a lot of scheming to pull off this surprise in the Industrial Arts Shop – after all, there are students in there all day, and few high school kids can keep a secret. But the end result is a wooden banner etched to look like it’s waving in the breeze. It is painted in Ukrainian blue and yellow.

“Those colors, they mean a lot to me,” Ivanov said with a smile. “It just shows that they care about me, you know, and support me.”

Made of oak, by the Oak Park community — for Ukraine.