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Ukrainian refugee who made Philadelphia home gets into Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music

Ukrainian student in Philly gets into prestigious Boston school for music
Ukrainian student in Philly gets into prestigious Boston school for music 02:42

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Two years ago, David Kozyrkov escaped Ukraine with his mother and sister after Russian troops invaded his native country. Now a high school senior in Philadelphia, Kozyrkov's journey will take him to one of the most prestigious music schools in the U.S., Berklee College of Music.

For as long as he can remember, Kozyrkov dreamed of using music to make the world a better place.

"I want to make people feel what I'm feeling inside," Kozyrkov said.

Kozyrkov never expected the consequences of war would force him to leave his home city of Mariupol and bring him to Philadelphia.

"It was 4 in the morning when we start to hear bombs here," Kozyrkov said. "My father said I need to choose -- I need to take my bag or my keyboard."

That was two years ago when Russian troops invaded Ukraine. With only the clothing on his back and a keyboard in his hands, Kozyrkov, along with his mother and sister, escaped their war-torn city.

Kozyrkov is now a senior at String Theory Schools in Center City while his father continues to fight in the Russia-Ukraine war.

"I start to think of my friends who die in Ukraine and I see my friends here. I think God gave me something," Kozyrkov said. "My father in Ukraine, he's a military chaplain. He's my number one."

In the years since he arrived in the City of Brotherly Love, Kozyrkov has learned English and continued to grow as a musician.

"They left everything they had there, so obviously they need support both monetarily, especially to get scholarships fund to go to university in this country and he deserves that opportunity," said Dr. Jack Carr, the director of culture at String Theory Schools.

And now, all of the hard work put in by Kozyrkov and his supporters has paid off. This fall, Kozyrkov will fulfill his dream of going to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, a school he's wanted to attend since he was just 13 years old.

"That means a lot, a lot of hard work," Kozyrkov said. "It is really important what you do in your life. My dream is to do something for people and make the world a better place."

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