“A friend of mine lives by the school; she has a small child. The day before the shelling, they were hiding in this school. When the explosion happened, they were at home - a few meters away. The entire house was shaking, the windows were shattered. Many neighbors had their window frames fall out entirely. It was terrifying,” tells photographer Anna Husarova, an alumnus of School №25 in Zhytomyr, when she recalls the day where Russian occupants destroyed her alma-mater.
In the morning of March 4th 20221, the Russian army shelled the school from the sky: half of the building was completely annihilated, and 5 people had to be evacuated from within. The educational facility, which had over 100 years of history and was one of Ukraine’s 100 best schools, is an associated member of UNESCO schools and has a series of professional achievements. It’s been turned into ruins.
Two months after the missile strike, on the 11th of May 2022, teachers, pupils, and their parents visited the territory of the school for the last time in order to say goodbye to their school. They were dressed festively, wearing vyshyvankas, and organized a symbolic “last bell”. Later, a graduation was held by the school for two former pupils. This, too, however, was only symbolic.
“Faina Bilinson and Alisa Shevchuk have studied at this school, they are its graduates. They turned to me and asked me to give them a photoshoot. We took pictures on the same day the pupils were supposed to have their actual graduation,” says Anna Husarova. In the photographs she took, the former school students are posing in yellow-blue dresses. The other half of the photoshoot is black-and-white pictures in which the two girls are wandering the ruined classrooms and corridors with books in their hands.
In order to fully restore School №25 in Zhytomyr, 200 million hryvnias (or 6,779,661 US dollars) are needed. These funds will finance project documentation, construction work and purchasing the necessary equipment. The head of Zhytomyr’s council, Serhiy Sukhomlyn, intends to commission Spanish architects for the project. Restoring the building as soon as possible will allow the students to return to their studies at their favorite school.