A talented 15-year-old girl from the Ukraine met a Rotary Friendship Exchange Team from District 6250 in Olsztyn, Poland last September and an idea was born … born while she was singing in a Culinary Training Kitchen developed through a Rotary Global Grant partly funded by the Rotary Clubs of Mayville, Columbus, Beaver Dam and Waupun!
Maria (Masha) Prytula is currently navigating the Rotary Youth Exchange application process in the hope of studying at the Janesville Parker Arts Academy in the fall of 2024.  Our District Youth Exchange Team, the Janesville Noon Rotary Club and Rotarians in Poland are working together to make this exchange happen.  An introduction to Masha and her story:
I’m Maria Prytula, I’m 15 years old. I am from Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine and I’m a singer. I have been doing vocals since I was 3 years old. My first competition was when I was 4 years old. I studied at a music school, took part in many music and theater competitions. In many of these contests, I took the first places and the grand prix. Music was, is and will be the meaning of my life. I know this is my calling. I also do volunteer work. My parents are members of Rotary International, my dad is charter president of the Rotary Club “Zaporizhzhia-Khortytsia”, my mom is past president of this club and I’m charter president of Interact Club “Zaporizhzhia-Khortytsia”.
But on February 24, 2022, at 5 o’clock , my life changed 180 degrees.  A war broke out in my country.  Russia attacked the Ukrainian land, the Ukrainian people.  Like millions of Ukrainians, my mom and I had to leave our home and go to a safe place, and these place turned out to be Poland, namely Olsztyn. My dad stayed in Zaporizhzhia to defend our country, and my mom and I sent a few humanitarian aids to Ukraine with Rotary clubs in Olsztyn.  After coming to Poland, it was very hard for me study vocals.  All classes were online, classes were usually interrupted due to air raids or gunshots, and sometimes the connection was interrupted.  Also I studied in two schools: Polish (in class for Ukrainians) and Ukrainian (online).  There were also many difficulties.
My dream is study music in prestigious college. I know that in the USA there is very good musical education. I want to be like Ariana Grande, Beyonce and Alicia Keys … or maybe better 😊
Thank you for your assistance and I hope to see you in Wisconsin next year!
Maria (Masha)
Stay tuned as Masha’s Youth Exchange adventure develops.  There are no certainties on the road she is taking other than if anyone can keep her on track it will be Rotarians like you! 
Finally, call or text Bill Pritchard at 1-608-780-2637 if your club is not changing a life next year by hosting an Exchange Student.  Just use the Swiss Army Knife that is Rotary and make it happen! 
Maria Prytula
  1. Winner of the All-Ukrainian competition "Constellation of Talented Preschoolers" Kyiv, Ukraine 2012.
  2. Grand Prix and first place at the international competition "Golden Lion" Lviv, Ukraine 2015
  3. Grand Prix at the all-Ukrainian competition in Kyiv, Ukraine, 2016
  4. Grand Prix at the international competition "Young Stars of Melpomene" in Beregov, Ukraine, 2016
  5. Winner of the 1st place at the All-Ukrainian Festival "Triumph – Fest" in Dnipro, Ukraine, 2017
  6. She took part in the All-Ukrainian Festival in Rivne, Ukraine in 2017
  7. Award "Best Hero Role" at the international competition "Incarnation" in Kyiv, Ukraine, 2017
  8. She took part in concerts in the cities of Olsztyn, Srokovo, Poland 2018
  9. She took part in a concert from the creative camp "Together" in Kiten, Bulgaria 2019
  10. She took part in the all-Ukrainian festival "Spas" in Kyiv, Ukraine
  11. Winner of the first and second prize of the "Global Talent" competition in Kyiv (2020) and Lviv (2021), Ukraine.
  12. Winner of the special prize of the competition "Vernissage. Energofest" in Netishyn, Ukraine (2021). Also laureate of the III prize in this competition.
  13. Since the beginning of the full Russian invasion on the territory of Ukraine, she has been living in Poland. She had the privilege of speaking atopening of the Marek Bezruchko roundabout, where the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Ruslan Stefanchuk was present (2022)
  14. Concert organized by the Greek Catholic Church parish on the occasion of the birthday of Taras Shevchenko (2022)
  15. Vocal competition in Warsaw "Young Musical Talents Focus of Extracurricular Work "175" (2023)
  16. Vocal competition "International Song Festival Lower Silesian Note" (2023)
  17. Vocal competition “Gdynia Open” in Gdynia, Poland (2023)
  18. She took part in many charity concerts for helping to Ukraine (2022-2023)
  19. Laureate of the 2nd place at the All-Polish vocal online-competition “Baw się, baw” (2023)
  20. She took part in legendary festival “Under a common sky” in Olsztyn, Poland (2023)
  21. Graduated from music school nr 1 in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine with gold medal (2023)