(Washington, D.C. – September 12, 2019) – Eta Iota Sigma Chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc. will host a Water and Dry Safety Clinic for sixty (60) third grade students at Frank W. Ballou Senior High School on Thursday, September 12, 2019 from 12:00 noon until 3:00pm. This school-community partnership seeks to address the high incidences of death by drowning; one of the leading causes of premature death for school-aged children of color. DC Public School Students from Garfield Elementary School and Simon Elementary School will be among the first students to benefit from this focused initiative from DCPS to ensure the safety of school-aged students while they enjoy the pleasure of swimming and other water-related activities. To broaden access for students to learn how to swim, DCPS budgets for a dedicated certified health and physical education teacher with a water safety instructor’s endorsement to provide all swimming instruction. DCPS also partners with DPR to operate and staff its pools during instruction. Currently, the DC Public Schools offers swimming at 5 high schools and a 3rd grade Elementary Swimming Program, that began in SY 2017-20.
This year, in partnership with DPR, DCPS would expand the Elementary Swimming program to schools that serve students in Wards 7 & 8. Schools in this program are Simon, Hendley, Randle Highland, Drew, Neval Thomas, Aiton, Ketchum, Turner, Excel, Kimball, CW Harris, Garfield, Van Ness, and Beers.
Joining the event are students from St. Thomas More Catholic Academy, another elementary school located in Ward 8. This event will underscore a recent tragedy experienced by the parents and grandparents of 8-year-old rising third-grade student, Jason Plaskett, Jr. Jason was a former student at Simon Elementary and would have begun his third-grade year at St. Thomas More Catholic Academy this year. Jason succumbed to a drowning death on July 4th, 2019 during a family outing to Virginia Beach. Jason, like most kids his age, enjoyed the water but had not learned to swim. His untimely death sent shock waves through these three Ward 8 communities who, in some way, have been forever changed by his loss. His family also joins us at the event to share how they are turning their tragedy into action in order to save the lives of other third grade students. Highlighted is the inclusiveness of this initiative and its impact on all children including those with disabilities such as Autism as those students (some non-verbal) may be more vulnerable in water-based activities.
Assembled students will participate in a one-hour water safety awareness clinic and a one-hour dry safety awareness clinic concurrently. The water safety clinic will be led by Olympic Gold Medalist Cullen Jones who, as part of the American team, holds the world record in the 4 x 100 meter freestyle relay race (long course).
For more information visit: www.sgrho1922.org
Release ID: 12593