O.P.E.N.’s Ukrainian student is boy of many interests
O.P.E.N.’s Sister City foreign exchange student program can hardly be categorized as a “Good Old Boys’ Club,” as more than 90 percent of its 30-plus scholars have been Ukrainian girls since the sponsorships were initiated in the early 1990s. Still, each of the boys selected — Vladimir Ratai and Leonid Romanenko of Smila and Oleksiy Kivenko of Cherkasy — has shown promise, and the fourth member of that exclusive group arrived in Newton in mid-August to continue the legacy.
A potluck dinner to honor 15-year-old Dmytro Oliinyk two weeks ago at the Congregational UCC heralded his arrival and presented him and his host family — Vince and Karen King and their sons, Quentin and Jaden — to OPEN’s board members. Dima (pronounced “DEE-muh”), as he is known, has a ready smile and great English language skills and promises to be a good candidate for studies at Newton Senior High School.
As is common with many Ukrainian families today, Dima is an only child. He was born in Korsun-Shevchenko and lives on Kommunarska Street in Smila on the fifth floor of an apartment building with his parents, Vitaliy, 41, and Natasha, 38. Vitaliy, a native of Korsun-Shevchenko, is a computer programmer who works for a petroleum station, and Natasha, originally from Smila, is a sales clerk at a food store. Vitaliy grew up in a Ukrainian-speaking home, while Natasha’s family spoke Russian, so Dima grew up speaking both. There are also two pet cats named Timka and Bonya at home.
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