Ukrainian exchange student honors 2 former prisoners of war

Published: Oct. 11, 2022 at 5:21 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Today, a Northridge High School student honored two Alabama veterans captured in Ukraine.

The exchange student from Ukraine will play a solo as part of the school’s concert in honor of Alex Drueke and Andy Hyunh.

Drueke and Hyunh are surprised and humbled that such an event will take place in their honor and it all starts at 6 p.m. at Moody Music Hall at UA.

His name is Tym Polkovnichenko, a Ukrainian native and exchange student at Northridge High School in Tuscaloosa, and a master-in-the-making in what he calls his ‘percussive fingerstyle’ on the guitar.

“I like the music. I like to play in front of people,” said Polkovnichenko.

At just 16 years old, Polkovnichenko has an understanding of what Druke and Hyunh sacrificed.

“I really appreciate the fact they fought in my country, their bravery, and I want to thank them by playing the song,” Polkovnichenko said.

This is a little taste of what’s in store for Druke and Hyunh, an unusual beat, fingering the neck of the guitar, a Slavic tune for the men, a solo that will come at some point during the school’s jazz and symphonic band concert.

Drueke is still astounded by the kindness. He had no idea this was being planned and plans to attend the concert along with Huynh. Drueke is certain the two will be touched.

“I was definitely surprised and it’s just a real honor. I will be thinking about lot of things, good and bad,” said Drueke.

With the concert and solo just hours away, Polkovnichenko hones his skills, sharpening a tune that means a great deal to him because it reminds him of home and hours away from sharing it with two former prisoners of war.

Alex Drueke and Andy Hyunh spent more than one hundred days in captivity.

Get news alerts in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store or subscribe to our email newsletter here.