Grade 10 students from St. Augustine School goes through a group research activity using iPads as part of the interactive educational portion of the bus tour Sept. 12. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Ponoka’s St. A students receive a unique opportunity

Interactive learning initiative teaches about horrors of human atrocity in the Ukraine

A distinctive learning opportunity was recently afforded a number of students at St. Augustine School, something they will likely remember for the rest of their lives.

Around 140 students in Grades 9 to 12 participated in a one-of-a-kind mobile classroom project that educates students on a tremendously tragic event called Holodomor.

In the years 1932 and 33, the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin ravaged the country of Ukraine through a systematic and deliberate genocide of the people via a man-made famine that killed millions — either through the terrible death by starvation or by execution.

The Holodomor Mobile Classroom (HMC) made a stop in Ponoka at St. Augustine Sept. 12 as part of its Alberta tour, sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Alberta Provincial Council. The HMC has a large video wall with seating for the students, who then use tablets in various groups to research specific topics followed by each groups having one student provide a brief presentation of their findings.

“The students really enjoyed the mobile classroom project,” explained Darren Josephison, the teacher who helped organize the tour stop.

“We had a great classroom discussion with several of my classes a followup.”

Roma Dzerowicz, executive director of the Holodomor National Awareness Tour, explained the hour-long lesson per class shows a short documentary along with a facilitator providing the students with some background information before the group work begins.

“It’s an immersive education design concept where students can experience and interact in a group and as a whole,” she said.

“We have developed some applications that are specific to this project that assists the students in researching and looking at material. In this interactive environment, the students may not realize it, but they retain and understand better by being hands-on and in a visual manner as its more about what they are used to in today’s world.”

Dzerowicz added that while subject can be horrific, it demonstrates why it is so important now to continue to fight to uphold the values of what Canada stands for and to show students that they too can have a voice in what goes on in this world — even if it is just in their school.

More information can be found about the HMC by visiting

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St. Augustine School Grade 10 students were among the several groups of high school students that were part of a special educational bus tour on Sept. 12. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Grade 10 students from St. Augustine School listen as one of the six groups presents their finding on their research topic during the bus tour Sept. 12. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

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