Ukrainian student at Northridge has special tie to POW

The Northridge High School Band put on a tribute concert Tuesday night at Moody Music Building in honor of former prisoners of war Alex Drueke and Andy Huynh.

Drueke and Huynh were captured in Ukraine this summer by a Russian-backed group and were held captive until they were freed last month during a prisoner exchange set up by the Saudi government.

Before the concert, WVUA 23’s Chelsea Barton caught up with Tymofii Polkovnichenko, who is a Ukrainian foreign exchange student attending Northridge.

“I want to say thank you to them by playing a song,” he said. “I think they will enjoy it.”

When the war broke out, Tymofii and his family escaped from their home in northern Ukraine to Ireland.

As part of the Future Leaders Exchange Scholarship Program, the 16-year-old is spending his junior year as a student at Northridge.

“Music is a very special subject for me,” Tymofii said. “I really enjoy playing it and listening to it. Now I am playing with people. I have never done that before. Music is helping me cope with the situation in my country. It usually calms me down.”

During the special,  Tymofii played a Slavic folk piece on the guitar to honor and thank former prisoners of war Drueke and Huynh for what they did for his country.

“I will do my best to say thank you by playing this song,”  he said.

And he has a special connection to Alex Drueke, too.

“My friend from the band told me he is actually her uncle,” Tymofii said. “I will really be happy to see him at the concert. I am really thankful for his contribution and help to my country. I really appreciate the fact that they fought for my country.”

Categories: Local News