Ukrainian teens discuss Russian war with Denton High School students

In classrooms around the world, students are discussing the war and its impact on democracy.

Students at Denton High School got to hear about it directly from two Ukrainian teenagers.

The two Ukrainian teens say the war has made them grow up too soon. Instead of focusing on school, they're worried about air raid sirens and the safety of loved ones left behind.

Students at Denton High School got an interactive history lesson Wednesday. It’s one that's sadly still in the making.

The North Texas students were able to talk remotely to two Ukrainian students displaced by the war with Russia.

17-year-old Olesya is supposed to be in her senior year of high school. That's on hold since she was forced to flee to the Czech Republic. Her town in Ukraine has been destroyed by Russian missiles, including the infamous attack on a train station crowded with evacuees. Women and children were among the dead there. 

"The situation is so difficult, and they have no kind-heartedness inside their bodies," she said.

18-year-old Sophia lives in Lviv near the Polish border. For now, her college remains open. But that could change if Russian forces attempt another push into western Ukraine.

"It's really hard because you start thinking of death for yourself, and you understand that you can't build any plans," she said.

Sophia told the American students not to take freedom of speech for granted. She says Russia continues to tell lies about the ongoing conflict.

"They are doing a huge propaganda, not only on Russians but on the whole world," she said.

The conversation was part of the Denton High School Distinguished Speaker Series.

Seniors said the talk was eye-opening.

"Honestly, I got emotional today," said student Luke Russell. "It's a heavy topic, and I didn't really absorb how heavy it was until I heard what they had to say."

"Now that I've talked to people like them, they're just like me," said student Kylie Williams. "And what they're experiencing, I think it gives perspective to the realness of the situation."

Olesya says she plans to start a non-profit to help rebuild her town once the war is over.

Sophia is majoring in computer science and hopes to use education to make the world a safer place.