Maksym Kosar, 17, stuffed his backpack with books, his laptop, his cell phone, bottled water, and snacks.
But Maksym—Maks for short—wasn’t headed to class. Instead, he had packed to flee his home in Ukraine.
Earlier that day, Russia had invaded Ukraine. Tens of thousands of people were rushing to escape to safety in other countries.
As he watched the news of the war, Maks realized he would have to leave. So his parents made a plan: Maks would go to live with his mom, who lives in New York City, while his dad would remain in Ukraine to protect their home.
On the day Maks left, Russia attacked an airfield in his city and thick clouds of gray smoke filled the air. It was time to go. Maks grabbed his backpack and a small suitcase.
Maks’s father drove Maks to Ukraine’s border with Poland. The trip took hours. Then Maks said goodbye to his dad and prepared to make the rest of the journey on his own.