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“You have been told that this flame will bring liberation to Ukraine’s people. But the Ukrainian people are free. They remember their own past and will build their own future,” he reasoned. “They tell you that we’re Nazis. But how can a people that lost eight million lives to defeat the Nazis support Nazism? How can I be a Nazi? Say it to my grandfather, who fought in World War II as a Soviet infantryman and died a colonel in an independent Ukraine.” His pleas mere echos in the wind; three hours later, bombs struck their first targets in my native land. Today, much of my country stands in ruins.

The pain runs deep. The fear, the anger, the sadness—all compounded by Vladimir Putin’s lies–or “fake news.” How much of the Russian public is still in the dark about the war crimes committed in their name? I know there have been protests, but a swift crackdown has silenced most dissent, and the threat of a fifteen-year prison sentence at the outset of the war has made independent and foreign broadcasters close shop. Now there’s only one stream of consciousness, and that is from the Kremlin. Neighbors report each other to the authorities if the official version of the “special military operation” is questioned. The war continues. Journalists and pundits speculate what terror Russian troops might unleash at one of Ukraine’s nuclear plants. Is another Chernobyl possible?

I have witnessed Ukrainians fight for democracy. In recent times, I have seen our sacrifice and know what we have endured throughout history in an eternal struggle for our sovereignty. We have been under Russian subjugation for at least three centuries. Soviet policy in the 1930s turned to Russification, a form of cultural assimilation in which non-Russians were forced to give up their culture and language for Russian culture and language. By 1932 and 1933, my great-grandmother, who had seven siblings, lived through the Holodomor, or Terror-Famine–a man-made famine exacerbated by the policies of Josef Stalin. Only three of my great-grandmother's siblings survived. An estimated six to eight million people died from hunger; nearly five million were Ukrainians. Our culture, history, poets, creators, scientists, food, language–all stolen, practically wiped out as if we had never existed. How dare anyone say we are brothers. Please don't insult us like this. Even in the face of Russian aggression in 2014, we stood firm during our Revolution of Dignity. We ousted Viktor Yanukovych and overthrew the Kremlin’s puppet government. We instated a democratically-elected president–Volodymyr Zelensky–a president of the people, a modern-day hero. Our president stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Ukrainian citizens to face this current Russian aggression against incredible odds.

We cry out for help.

The world watches.

Western nations fear outright military support will signal an escalation of the war. As I scroll through image after image on social media of the carnage Russian tanks and missiles have left across towns and cities throughout Ukraine, I can’t help thinking that these sanctions feel more like a drop in the ocean.

And though they are mounting against Putin and his oligarchs, to a Ukrainian eye, the vast majority of the Russian public stands motionless and inert. But then again, on the one hand, what can you expect from a country, from the latest polls, shows that eighty percent of Russians approve of the war? We can probably thank the falsified Russian version of events and the ever-present fear of a long-forgotten Soviet state for the censored voices and controlled lives. On the other hand, we know that this aggressive stance is not new. Russia has initiated wars and intervened in conflicts for years, and the Russian public has done little to stop its government.



In Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the Donbas region in 2014, Russians supported the annexation. Their prolonged silence has only emboldened Putin. And here we are today. As Russia continues destroying our way of life, millions of Ukrainians, primarily women and children, have fled to an unknown and uncertain future. Men—husbands, brothers, uncles, cousins, have stayed behind to fight. The Russian public is just as much at fault as their leaders. Russian leaders and citizens should all have to pay a high price for this carnage.

There is a genocide occurring in my country.

Citizens are the target.

I have lost count of all the children who have died. People worldwide react, expressing concern, but I’m sorry, “concern” doesn’t quite match the despair I feel. I want to scream so everyone hears. Don’t they realize that I have no clue if my family is still alive? I wonder what has happened to my cousins, who are just two years older than me, and my uncle, who joined the Ukrainian military to defend our land. Doesn’t the world realize that my house was bombed, that we have lost our money, and that others we know have been killed? Don’t they know the daily psychological dread of a chemical weapons attack? I am perplexed when I hear that Russians are “salty” if we say we despise them. Is that too strong an emotion for our politically correct world?

Putin has said that he believes “Russians and Ukrainians are one people, one nation…” and that “when these lands that are now the core of Ukraine joined Russia…nobody thought of themselves as anything but Russians.” Let me answer that with a quote from a woman in Mariupol,

I am sure I will die soon. It is a matter of a few days.

In this city, everyone is constantly waiting for death. I just want it not to be too scary.

Does this reflect “we are one?” When will the world do more to end this ruthless violence and mass murder of the Ukrainian people?

When will it end?

hero jill muti
Chapter 01: News from the Board of Trustees | Welcome to St. Stephen's

Welcome Head of School-Elect Jill Muti

The St. Stephen’s community looks forward to welcoming Head-Elect Jill Muti when she arrives in Rome later this summer.

For the last eighteen years, Ms. Muti has been the Head of Ashley Hall, a Pre-K-12th-grade independent school for girls serving 685 students. In this capacity, she has managed the budget, staffing, and all aspects of student life and has had hands-on leadership in virtually every dimension of the School's program, including strategic planning and development. 

Chapter 02: War in Ukraine | A Comment on Our Times, Cortile 2022 Highlights

The Fight for Ukraine: A Journey to the End of the Night

It was a day after Russia invaded when Alex texted.

Now a successful attorney, my good friend is Ukrainian. In childhood, he was a refugee, encamped in Italy before being relocated to Texas. “Remember that thing you wrote about whether individuals shape history?” he asked. I had to admit that I did not. “I do,” he said.

By Jen Hollis - Teacher of IB History
ukraine facts
Chapter 02: War in Ukraine | A Comment on Our Times

Ukraine Facts at a Glance



In March of 2014, Russia invaded and subsequently annexed a region of Ukraine called Crimea, which Russia believed belonged to them. It was annexed through a Crimean parliament vote, followed by a 97% win referendum. The annexation, however, is still widely disputed by Ukraine and the International Community. (NPR)  It remains the only time a European nation has used military force to seize territory since World War II.

By Aslan Stephenson ‘25
Chapter 02: War in Ukraine | Putin's Mind, A Comment on Our Times, Cortile 2022 Highlights

Opinion - Putin’s Mind: A Psychological Assessment

With Vladimir Putin's decision to invade Ukraine,

Russia's rise towards autocracy hit a new high. Putin has threatened any country attempting to intervene with dire consequences, which some fear may include the use of nuclear weapons, during this full-scale military invasion.

By Emma C. Jansen ‘24
when will it end
Chapter 02: War in Ukraine | A Comment on Our Times

When Will It End?

A chill ran down my spine on February 24th as I watched the invasion of my home country in absolute horror.

Many said it wouldn’t happen. It did. Our president, Volodymyr Zelensky, appealed to the Russian people in a last-ditch effort to stave off the inevitable in those early morning hours in late February.

By Unnamed SSS Student
Chapter 03: Around School | Boarding Activities

Boarding: Holiday dinner & weekend activities

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Lago Albona bording2
Chapter 03: Around School | Fall Trips, Boarding Activities

Boarding: Lago Albano & Fall trips

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Field trip&CAS2
Chapter 03: Around School | Service, Field Trips

Field Trips & CAS

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Chapter 04: Technology Today | Blockchain, Technology

The Blockchain

Generation Z is growing up in a technologically advanced world.

Even though we are supposed to know the latest technology and advancements, many things you read about are still unclear and confusing.

By Emma C. Jansen ‘24
love of bitcoin
Chapter 04: Technology Today | Love of Crypto, Technology

For the Love of Crypto

Cryptocurrency is one of the world’s greatest inventions.

However, there is a lot of false information about it. For many, it remains mysterious and something not well understood. Because of that, many people choose to stay away from it, believing they will lose a lot of money. But is that really the case?

By Matteo Torralba ‘24
Chapter 04: Technology Today | NFT, Technology

I’ll Have an NFT, Please

In the last couple of months, interest in NFTs has skyrocketed.

If you haven’t heard of or know anything about this latest craze, the concept is relatively simple. NFT stands for Non-Fungible Token, which is essentially a virtual or digital collectible (e.g., art). If you are to buy a particular NFT, that means you are the only certified holder of it. It’s a pretty cool phenomenon.

By Francesco Saviotti ‘23
Chapter 04: Technology Today | New Technologies

New Technologies on the Horizon

Blockchain technology offers many exciting possibilities in various industries–from finance and law to music and fashion,and we’ve read a few use cases in this chapter. Below, you’ll find a few more technologies that are my top picks I believe we should keep an eye on for the impact each has the potential of having on human welfare.

By Francesco Saviotti ‘23
Chapter 05: The Dr. Helen Pope Lyceum | The Lyceum, Classics

The Aventinus Minor Project: An Educational and Community Archaeology Project

Learning about human societies - past, present, and future.


By Inge Weustink - Director of the Lyceum, Classics Teacher
Chapter 05: The Dr. Helen Pope Lyceum

Scientific Methods in Archaeology Lessons

During the last week of March, the 9th- and 10th- graders engaged in a presentation followed by an interactive session related to archaeology and the sciences.

By Esme Lundius ‘10 - St. Stephen’s Activities Coordinator, Boarding Department
Chapter 06: Creative Writing | The Arts, Creative Writing

Celebrating the Core Value of Creativity

Creative Writing Teacher Moira Egan is extremely pleased to introduce these pieces by students in the Spring Semester’s Creative Writing Classes.

A wide and wonderful gamut is represented here, including works inspired by works of literature or students’ artwork, the classic yet fun form of ovillejos, and beautiful translations from the Hindi and Chinese.

eric mayer
Chapter 07: Interview with Outgoing Head of School Eric Mayer

Eric Mayer

Outgoing Head of School

By Natalie Edwards '14 - City of Rome I, Core 9 Teacher and member of the Boarding Faculty
new technologies
Chapter 08: Our Life Online | Digital St. Stephen's

Technology for Good

In this online event, we discussed and provided insight into how St.Stephen’s alumni benefit from an adaptive aptitude towards building technologies that truly solve problems, beyond the financial gain.

Chapter 08: Our Life Online | Gaming, Technology

The Wonderful World of Gaming

In gaming, there are several social and emotional advantages.

Although online games are a form of entertainment, with the support and guidance of parents, they can help children develop creativity, cultivate relationships with friends, and improve strategic thinking.

By Francesco Saviotti ‘23
healthy mind
Chapter 09: Sports | Exercise Critical for a Healthy Mind

Why Exercise is Critical for Maintaining a Healthy Mind

Exercise, be it aerobic or anaerobic, is generally perceived as a positive activity to partake in; yet what does the science say when it comes to its effects on mood, mental health, and general well-being?

By Alexander Carbon ‘22
Chapter 09: Sports | Sports Program at School

Sports lens

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ice skating
Chapter 09: Sports | Ice Skating is a Passion

The Fire Inside Me

I frequently question what people are passionate about.

And, I mean like insanely in love and an ardent passion towards a sport, music, subject, person, or anything; a kind of passion that lights a fire inside you.

By Clotilde Citrani ‘23
true to myself
Chapter 10: Mental Health | Surrounded yourself with Healthy People

To Thyself Be True

The importance of surrounding yourself with healthy people is knowing you are fine just by yourself if you don’t find them

By Emma LeGalle ‘23
mental health
Chapter 10: Mental Health | Impact on Mental Health, The Pandemic

The Impact of the Pandemic on the Mental Health of Adolescents

Psychologist Erik Erickson in his theory of psychosocial development, posits that between the ages of approximately 12 and 18, adolescents search for a sense of self and personal identity and explore their independence.

By Luisa Nannini - LCSW Health and Wellness Counselor
Chapter 11: Service Tributes | In the Spirit of Service

Supporting the Children of Idjwi

“Providing a meal at school is a simple but concrete way to give poor children a chance to learn and thrive.” WFP

By Dr. Helen Pope - Former St. Stephen’s Teacher and Director of the Dr. Helen Pope Lyceum
Chapter 11: Service Tributes | In the Spirit of Service

The House Whose Name is Love

La Casa di Andrea

By Annie Jacquet - Teacher of French and Supervisor of the Reach Out Student Club /Associazione Andrea Tudisco
Chapter 12: The Arts Collective | Book Corner

The Giver by Lois Lowry

HarperCollins Edition 2014

The novel, The Giver, is a fantasy intended for young audiences. It is an exciting story full of twists and turns. But above all, especially in these times, it pushed me to reflect on the pain brought by war and human brutality.

By Vittoria Giusti ‘22
Chapter 12: The Arts Collective | Book Corner

The Plague by Albert Camus

My English class has been reading and studying the novel The Plague by Albert Camus.

Throughout the book–centered around disease, sickness, and consequent suffering–we observe the plague's ‘chillingly rapid’ progression throughout the city and its psychological, social, and emotional effects on those living through it.

By Benedetta Bosco ‘22
Chapter 12: The Arts Collective | Photography, The Arts, Digital St. Stephen's

Liana Miuccio's Photoclasses

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Chapter 12: The Arts Collective | What Students are Watching

Film review: Promising Young Woman (2020)

IMDB Rating: 7.5

‘Can you guess what every woman’s worst nightmare is?’