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Valley teacher headed to Ukraine to help in the war during summer

Posted at 7:55 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 22:55:55-04

AVONDALE, AZ — A Valley high school teacher will spend his summer break in a war zone as he’s headed to Ukraine to help his family’s homeland country.

Mr. Michael Kopczak is an English teacher at West Point High School in Avondale, and has been working on final projects with his students. His class has been assigned to write personal narratives before they head into the summer break.

The West Point high teacher since 2016 will be writing a new chapter in his own life as he plans to head to Ukraine for more than a month.

About two weeks after the war started in Ukraine, Mr. Kopczak decided he would spend his time when he’s not teaching in Ukraine. He hopes to help in any way he can as a translator or to assist in any military operations that may be needed.

The English teacher said he did write his master's thesis project on language and identity for his degree in linguistics while in Ukraine, but has not visited since the war began. Mr. Kopczak also still has family in Ukraine with some escaping safely to Poland, and some relatives who have stayed in their homeland.

“It’s hard to see it on tv, I remember one day I was talking with my Aunt Maria in Lviv and she was saying they were bombing, and I could hear it, and then I turn on the TV afterwards, and there it was on the news and so that sinks your heart a little bit,” he said.

Mr. Kopczak said some of his students know about him going to Ukraine, but he has tried to keep his summer plans out of the classroom.

He plans to be back before the start of next school year.