Ms. Lasevich discusses immigrant experience

Ryan Donnelly, Features Editor

“If America didn’t exist, where would I go?” Upper School math teacher Alexandra (Alex) Lasevich asked. An immigrant from the Soviet Union, she described the character of America in these few, simple, yet poignant words: “The Great American Melting Pot.”

Not only is our country a melting pot, but so is our Princeton Day School community with many different immigrants from all over the world. Ms. Lasevich left Moscow with her family when she was 18, having spent her entire childhood in the USSR. There, people were not taught to think, but instead to conform to the state propaganda.

“Free thought was pretty much unheard of or frowned upon,” Ms. Lasevich recalled. Also, as a Jew in a homogenous and anti-Semitic society, she was always told, “Yes, you are part of the Soviet Union, but you are not one of us.'”

When she was young, Ms. Lasevich’s parents applied to emigrate from the Soviet Union, thereby becoming “enemies of the people.” Then they were fired, resulting in a classic Catch-22 situation, as being unemployed was a crime, so they were arrested.

Although Ms. Lasevich has spent a lot more time as an American than she had in the Soviet Union, she has never really felt that she is displaced. She feels like an American and introduces herself as an American, though people always seem to wonder where she is “really” from. Ms. Lasevich believes that being an immigrant has given her a different perspective, noticing some things that many of us take for granted. Not knowing who the next president will be is one example. While it may often seem unsettling and frustrating, democratically electing the president is a privilege for citizens of our country that was never enjoyed by citizens of the USSR.  

“While I may vehemently agree or disagree with the politicians who are speaking there, I am so happy that they are running and that I have no idea who is going to win.”