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Nine honored with Hetman Awards

Dec 7, 2022 | Community, Canada, Featured

Photo: Marko Boychuk Standing Left to Right:: Dr. Bradly Basaraba (son of Phyllis Basaraba), Rod Shaigec, Catherine Bacinski , Tamara Vorotilenko, Ivan Vorotilenko, Olia Myc, Liliya Sukhy, Nataliya Melysh. Seated, Left to Right: Bohdan Romaniuk, Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz, Nadia Cyncar, Christine Moussienko, UCC - APC President Orysia Boychuk. (Missing: Dr. Amil Shapka)

NP-UN Western Bureau.

Nine members of Alberta’s Ukrainian community were presented with Hetman Awards at the annual banquet held at the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex in Edmonton December 3.

Greetings were delivered by Jackie Armstrong-Homeniuk, MLA for Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville, and Parliamentary Secretary for Ukrainian Refugee Settlement, on behalf of the Government of Alberta, Karen Principe, Councillor for Ward Tastawiyiniwak, on behalf of the City of Edmonton, and Consul General Oleksandr Danyleiko on behalf of the Government of Ukraine.

The program also featured a presentation by Sand Artist Svitlana Melobenska and a performance by singer Ihor Bohdan.

The Hetman Awards were established by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress – Alberta Provincial Council in 1998 to recognize significant volunteer achievements of outstanding Ukrainian Albertans. The Annual Hetman Awards are dedicated to the celebration of all volunteers who have chosen to give their time, effort and expertise in order to keep our Ukrainian Canadian community in Alberta strong, vibrant and active.

Awards were presented in four categories — Outstanding Leadership, Professional Achievement, Exemplary Volunteer and Posthumous.

The honorees are as follows:

Outstanding Leadership Awards

Catherine Bacinski’s involvement with the Ukrainian choir community started close to 35 years ago when she joined the Edmonton CYMK choir as a teenager. Her love of singing then took her to join the Verkhovyna choir where she met and married the love of her life, Josip, and where they continue to sing together to this day. Once her daughters came along, Catherine was committed and actively involved in all their activities as a tireless volunteer in the Ukrainian Community.

Her go-to proverb, “Where there is a will – there is a way,” launches her to action. Catherine’s “no nonsense and let’s get to work” approach has been vital to the Verkhovyna Ukrainian Song and Dance Ensemble, the Verkhovyna Choir, St. Josaphat’s Sadochok, Edmonton Catholic Schools Ukrainian Bilingual Dance Academy Parent Advisory, League of Ukrainian Canadians (LUC), Ukrainian Youth Unity Council (UYUC), Volya Ukrainian Dance Ensemble, Verkhovyna School of Ukrainian Dance, and the Verkhovyna Ukrainian Song & Dance Ensemble Parent Advisory Committee. Catherine is fiercely proud of her Ukrainian heritage and willingly shares her love, passion, and enthusiasm. As a lifelong learner, Catherine is willing to take risks, take direction, and learn from others. Her positive attitude and sense of humour are infectious and an asset to the Ukrainian organizations as an outstanding leader.

Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz is a 1st born Ukrainian Canadian, who is actively engaged in the Ukrainian Canadian Community. She is a longtime active member of the League of Ukrainian Canadian Women (Edmonton Branch) having served in various executive positions, a lifetime member of Ukrainian Youth Association (SUM), Alberta Council of Ukrainian Arts, Ukrainian Shumka Dancer, Ukrainian Canadian Congress Provincial and National, and Ukrainian World Congress.

Olesia has served on a number of community committees and advisory boards, and brings energy, knowledge and innovative ideas to every organization she is involved with. She works tirelessly on attracting and motivating new members to join our community organizations. Olesia strongly believes that we all, united and strong, can build a better future for our community in Canada, and help Ukraine especially at this difficult time. Her exemplary leadership and volunteer skills show others that she is a true role model and everybody can be successful in their own ventures. For her active role within the Ukrainian Canadian community she was recently sanctioned against travelling to Russia.

Nataliya Melysh joined Ukrainian Youth Association (CYM) shortly after arriving in Calgary from Ukraine in 1996. We immediately felt her contagious enthusiasm and passion for supporting Ukrainian youth. This made her an integral part of the revitalization of our organization, which at that time consisted mostly of adult members. Along with other parents, she restarted the weekly youth programming. Since then, her involvement and leadership in the organization grew, as did her impact on the organization and our community in Calgary.

She continued to teach weekly classes, and took on various roles on the executive, including treasurer, secretary, head instructor and director of programming. In these roles, she wrote and organized various concerts, plays, songs, and commemorative productions where our youth presented, introduced our organization to old and lost Ukrainian traditions, and integrated her talents in embroidery, beading and special Ukrainian art methods into an art program for youth, which continue to be used locally and nationally.

Tamara Vorotilenko has the ability to recognize a need and has a commitment to getting things done, which has led to a lifetime of volunteer activities. She currently devotes her time to various community organizations through the Edmonton Region. Her volunteer and leadership accomplishments made and continue to make a significant difference to the lives of many in the community.

In 1998, the family immigrated to Canada and settled in Edmonton, Alberta. In 1999, Tamara joined Ukrainian Women’s Organization of Canada. For many years she held various positions on the Boards of UWO and UNF (Secretary, Chairman of the Auditing Committee, Financial Adviser, Vice-President, etc.). In 2009 she was elected as President of UWO Edmonton branch, which she held for 4 years (2009-2012). In 2019, the members of the organization again entrusted her with this honorary position (2019-2020). Tamara worked as one of the developing members of the Ukrainian Children’s Theatre-Studio Dzherelo and has inspired the new generation. They will have the knowledge to go forward and continue with the work started before them, ensuring the continuation of Ukrainian traditions and language.

Professional Achievement Awards

Olia Myc’s pedagogical career has been dedicated to the development and sustainability of Ukrainian language education in the province. She worked as an elementary school teacher and taught Grades 5 and 5/6 at the Ukrainian Bilingual Programs in Fr. Kenneth Kearns School and St. Theresa Catholic School, Sherwood Park. Olia also acted as an Artistic Director of the Ukrainian Children’s Drama Theater “Dzherelo” at the Ukrainian National Federation, Edmonton Branch. Currently, she teaches grades 3 and 3/4 at the Ukrainian Bilingual Program in St. Matthew Elementary School, Edmonton. In the local Ukrainian community, she is well known as the Principal of the Ukrainian Saturday School Ridna Shkola at St. George’s Catholic Church in Edmonton. She is also the recipient of the 2019-2020 Best Teacher of the Ukrainian Language Abroad award.

As Principal of the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies since 2004, Liliya Sukhy has been an inspiration to both students and teachers. She has encompassed what can be called a caring, initiative-taking, and empowering leader. Whether it be through student concerts, walkathons, fundraising efforts, or simply sharing school photos with families, Liliya brings together the community that is the Ivan Franko School.

Her enterprising qualities led to the creation of an entire separate stream of distance learning for students living outside of Edmonton and who cannot attend in person. The program runs in parallel with regular learning, and involves the hiring of additional teachers. Now in its second year, this distance initiative ties in students from across the province and country. As a visionary, Sukhy expanded programming and brought in new students at precisely a time many of our community organizations face huge challenges.

Exemplary Volunteer Award

Rod Shaigec is a third generation Canadian, born on the family farm in the hamlet of Carvel. His grandparents immigrated to Carvel from Lviv Oblast in the early 1900s. They, along with other members of the Carvel community, built the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church and the Carvel Hall.

From an early age, Rod was immersed in Ukrainian community activities and has remained active as a member of, and volunteer with, the church and the hall. Over the past 20 years, he has assumed various executive roles with the Carvel Ukrainian Cultural Society (CUCS). Established in 1924, the CUCS strives to maintain and advance Ukrainian culture, arts, and language, while serving the community. Rod is regularly involved in maintenance activities at both the church and hall, including upkeep of the six acres of grounds and cemetery. Rod and other volunteers also spearheaded an expansion and modernization of the hall, and Rod has stepped in to fill the roles of Santa Claus and Sviatyji Mykolaj at hall events during the festive season.

Ivan Vorotilenko was born in Kharkiv and immigrated to Canada with his family in 1998. In the first few years after arriving in Canada, the whole family joined the Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) and the Ukrainian Women’s Organization (UWO), and took an active role in them and the Ukrainian community of Edmonton at large. In 2001, Ivan joined the UNF and participated in the revival of the Ukrainian National Youth Federation (UNYF) and the theatrical group “Suzirya,” with which he took part in poetry nights, artistic performances, and Malankas from 2008-2020.

Ivan travelled to Ukraine as an international election observer in 2004, 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2014, representing UCC and CANADEM. He never attended Ukrainian schools having lived mostly outside of Ukraine before coming to Canada, but having joined the Ukrainian community in Edmonton, he learned the language on his own and attained a level of fluency. Ivan served as secretary for the UNF from 2004-2005, and has been a member of the UNF building management committee since 2006.

Posthumous Award

Phyllis Basaraba was a second generation Ukrainian Canadian, who learned to read, write, and speak Ukrainian while visiting her Baba and Dido on the farm during the summers. Despite a tragic helicopter accident leaving her a paraplegic at the age of 31, she never let her wheelchair slow her down.

In 1989, Phyllis contacted lost relatives in Western Ukraine, and embarked upon her first trip to Ukraine in 1990 alone in a wheelchair. She made an additional 17 trips to Ukraine, bringing suitcases and boxes of supplies. Thanks to her skills as an elections officer and fluency in Ukrainian, Phyllis was recruited by the United Nations to travel to Kyiv as an elections scrutineer for Ukraine’s first presidential elections in1991. She was delighted by the honour, and attended the following two Ukrainian elections under the guidance of Prime Minister Joe Clark, and then as the head attaché in Kyiv for Prime Minister John Turner.

In 2002, Phyllis finished her Master of Arts in Ukrainian Linguistics at the University of Alberta. She subsequently published a book on Ukrainian folklore and traditions, which is now used in universities worldwide.

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