After fleeing Ukraine, student feels at home at DeMatha

As musicians in the Advanced Percussion Ensemble of DeMatha Catholic High School gathered on stage for a recent concert at their Hyattsville, Maryland school, one of the performers – a new student there – didn’t have time to get a tux like the other student musicians were wearing, so he donned a DeMatha blazer and khakis.

Before performing their music, Dr. Michael Gatti, the chairman of DeMatha’s music department and the percussion instructor, introduced that student to the audience. He was Ivan Dmytriiev, 17, a Ukrainian refugee who had arrived in the United States with his 6-year-old little brother, Mykhailo, after a harrowing escape from his country just after Russia launched its invasion there. Ivan and his brother are living with their grandparents in Lanham, Olga D. Carlson and Ronald Carlson, and he started attending DeMatha in April.

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