It’s been one year since Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, and several Ukrainian families have flocked to the United States to seek refuge. The nonprofit social services agency Samaritas has logged more than 600 case files for Ukrainians who are resettling in metro Detroit, which has a large population of Ukrainian Americans on the city’s east side. As Ukrainian refugees settled into their new homes here, one educational community quickly opened its doors to receive and support them.  


Over the past year, more than 100 Ukrainian refugee students have arrived at the AGBU Alex and Marie Manoogian School, a K-12 school in Southfield that began in 1969 as an all-Armenian school and later transformed into a charter school open to all students. The school has also added three new ESL teachers to its roster to meet the needs of its new students.  

Manoogian School

Ukrainian refugee students learn English in ESL class at the Manoogian School in Southfield, MI. | Photo by One Detroit

Despite the changes impacting the school and its new refugee students, the Armenian and Ukrainian communities have found a common bond with each other. One Detroit’s Bill Kubota sits down with students, teachers and administrators at the Manoogian School to learn about the common thread that connects these two communities throughout history and how some refugee students are responding to the war back home. 

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