Students from Ukraine start school in Chicago

Sixty-five young refugees from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are about to start a new school year in Chicago. They’re enrolled at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Cathedral School in the West Side Ukrainian Village neighborhood.

St. Nick’s Principal Anna Cirilli reports the children have many needs. Some remain traumatized by what the war has done to their lives.

"It’s not easy for them," Cirilli said. "They may cry easily over something that on another day back in Ukraine wouldn’t bother them. We’re seeing…aggression come out sometimes…in situations where the students normally wouldn’t behave that way."


In an interview airing on Flannery Fired Up, the Catholic educator said the Archdiocesan Big Shoulders fund has provided some financial assistance. St. Nicholas qualifies as a Catholic school with at least 65% of its students living in poverty.

Cirilli said people wanting to help should contact St. Nicholas School at 773-384-7243; or St. Nicholas Ukrainian Cathedral at 773-276-5080. There is also an online portal for donations.

"The scooters have been big," Cirilli said. "People…sent in scooters. The students arrived at school on their brand-new scooters."

She added that the children still need "other sorts of games, toys, dolls. Those are always welcome."

Among others appearing on this weekend’s edition of Flannery Fired Up: 8th Congressional District Republican candidate Chris Dargis, a Navy veteran and businessman challenging Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois).

Also, State Rep. Dan Brady of Bloomington, the Republican nominee for Illinois Secretary of State, facing Democratic nominee Alexi Giannoulias for the office that Jesse White is soon to vacate; and Ted Dabrowski, president of, who speaks about 150 Chicago Public Schools being more than half-empty. He said Manley High School has only 64 students enrolled at a campus built for 1,300.