By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Carver Elementary second-grade student Dreshawn Williams learned an important lesson during the last two weeks.
During that time, Dreshawn and his second-grade classmates at Carver spent an hour each day in their physical education class receiving swim lessons at the City Pool. During their eighth and final lesson on Thursday, Dreshawn reflected upon what he will remember.
“Don’t be scared of the water,” he said. “Just relax.”
Now that Carver students completed their swim lessons, second-graders at each of Tupelo’s lower elementary schools have gone through two weeks of swimming instruction inside the climate-controlled dome at the City Pool.
This was the first year that Tupelo Parks and Recreation, the Tupelo Aquatic Club and school teachers have taught swim lessons to all of the district’s approximately 620 second-graders.
“I thought the process went great,” said Don Lewis, director for Tupelo’s department of parks and recreation. “It exceeded our expectations.”
The program will continue next year, too. The school district announced Thursday that the Mississippi Department of Health awarded it an $18,750 grant to advance the program.
The grant, which will provide $3,750 to each of the schools, will be used for supplies like goggles, shallow water platforms, fins kickboards and equipment bags.
The platform will help beginners stand in the shallow water, and the fins will aid more advanced swimmers in perfecting their technique, said Amy Williams, senior recreation director for parks and recreation.
“One of the greatest things I have seen from this is kids who were so scared of the water begin to jump in,” said Joyner Principal Jason Harris, who had the idea to pilot the program. “You can’t take that away.”
Certainly not from Dreshawn.
Contact Chris Kieffer at (662) 678-1590 or firstname.lastname@example.org.