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Vaipan family escapes Communism, finds freedom in America

Nadia and Peter Vaipan mother and father of FC student, Amy Vaipan, '16, went to great lengths to escape the Soviet Union and find freedom.
[/media-credit] Nadia and Peter Vaipan mother and father of FC student, Amy Vaipan, ’16, went to great lengths to escape the Soviet Union and find freedom.

Amy Vaipan shares story

Nadia and Peter Vaipan mother and father of FC student, Amy Vaipan, ’16, went to great lengths to escape the Soviet Union and find freedom. The couple lived in Ukraine with their new born daughter Connie. Nadia worked as a lab technician while Peter worked as a painter.

The couple decided to leave the Soviet Union in 1988 to escape Communism and find religious freedom when their oldest daughter was only three months old. The Soviet Union however, restricted travel to all other countries. The couple went to Austria by way of train and appealed to the American Embassy.

After approval they took another train to Rome and then flew to the United States. The process was not easy and the Viapan family was forced to leave all of their pictures, personal possessions and passports behind.

The family was left to start over in a new country with different cultures and customs then what they were accustomed to. Yet a new start was the only option.

“We were glad to be free,” Nadia said. “In the Ukraine private transportation vehicles were a luxury. It was different for them to see so many privately owned cars in America.”

Jobs were hard to find at first. Soon after arriving Peter became a truck driver as Nadia stayed home to care for her growing family. In the following years children Joe and Amy were born.

Today one would hardly guess that the Viapan family endured such a struggle. The families youngest child Amy is new at FC this year. She has attended a number of schools in the Fresno-Clovis district including Mountain View Elementary School, Dry Creek Elementary School, Bud Rank Elementary School and Century Elementary School. Amy was also home schooled for some of fifth grade and all of junior high.

Currently Amy’s favorite class at FC is Biology because she enjoys learning how the body functions and what chemicals make up the body. Amy plans to become a veterinarian when she grows up. Her ambitions for this profession are fueled by her love of all animals.

“I love animals,” Amy said. “I hate seeing them in pain so being a vet I’d be able to help them. I enjoy Biology because it’s helping me in my future of becoming a vet. I have three of my own pets; a dog and two cats. I enjoy the time I spend with them which only makes me want to become a vet more.”

Not only does Amy have a passion for animals but she also participates in hobbies such as reading and cycling.

“Reading and cycling are some other things I like to do,” Amy said. “I know a lot of people may not enjoy reading but it’s something I’ve always liked to do. Also cycling is something that I find really exciting so I like to cycle a lot.”

Amy also enjoys music having learned to play violin at age seven. At first the instrument was hard to learn but with persistent practice she improved and is still improving. She is currently learning how to play electric guitar as well. In general Amy enjoys most any music but rock in particular. Her favorite artist is John Meyers.

“I love music and I’ve been playing instruments since I was little,” Amy said. “I started playing the violin at age seven. At first the instrument was hard to learn but with persistent practice I improved. I recently started to learn how to play the electric guitar.”

A sport Amy likes to participate in is basketball. She played on the basketball team in junior high at Century but is unsure of playing for the FC team this year.

“I really like playing basketball,” Amy said. “I played on the junior high team at Century but I don’t know if I’m going to play this year. I just have to wait and see how everything plays out”
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Overall her favorite vacation spot is Wyoming. She took a trip there with her family during the summer. While there they went hiking, sightseeing, and visited the hot springs. One of the most enjoyable things that Amy finds about Wyoming is the beauty and diversity of the nature there.

“My family likes to take vacations together to bond more as a family,” Amy said. “So far Wyoming has been my favorite vacation spot because of all the nature there. It’s such a beautiful place and I just love the environment there.”

As a holiday tradition every Christmas the family goes either to Hawaii or Disneyland. This past year they went to Maui Hawaii. The family took part in activities such as biking, snorkeling, swimming and taking a trip on a submarine while there.

“This past Christmas we went to Maui Hawaii,” Amy said. “We did a lot of different things while we were there and I had a great time.”

The Viapan parents went through many trials to provide a life full of freedom and opportunities. Their efforts are justified by the lives that their children now live.

For more features, read the Jan. 7 article, Winter sports generate anticipation, convey excitement.

Follow The Feather via Twitter and Instagram: @thefeather and @thefeatheronlilne. This writer can be reached via Twitter: @skylerklee and via Email: [email protected]

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    Michael OgdonNov 6, 2012 at 12:08 am

    Yup, I do.

    Reply