May 29: Hello everyone! I Maryana Naumova, four-time world champion in the bench press.
Today, the last bell sounds at the schools of Donbass. For some this is the beginning of a long-awaited summer vacation, while others say their final goodbye to school and step into adulthood.
I want to congratulate you, my dears, on this beautiful day. It was a very difficult year for you, and quite frankly, I do not know whether I could have coped with similar challenges if I were in your place, or not. Honestly — I do not know… And you did it!
I visited Donbass three times, and was amazed every time by your courage and steadfastness! Despite the blockade of the Ukrainian authorities, despite the bullets and shells, despite the economic difficulties you have experienced this year, you learned and grew.
Many thanks are owed to those who were close to you — especially your teachers, your parents, and your heroic defenders, the soldiers of the army of Donbass. Some of you even took up arms shoulder to shoulder with the adults to protect your homeland. All of you are patriots of your land, and I am sure that your grandparents and great-grandparents are proud of you!
Guys, I would like to wish, first of all, of course, peaceful skies, happiness and prosperity to you and your loved ones.
Remember — the future is not predetermined. There is no fate, except that which we create ourselves. We are responsible for our future, and how it will be only depends on us.
As always, summer will fly by quickly and quietly — and on September 1, the Day of Knowledge, I’ll meet with you in the heroic land of Donbass. All of you are my brothers and sisters, together we are one big family, and I am sure that everything will be fine!
I love you!
Translated by Greg Butterfield