TONASKET — Tonasket School District’s fourth and fifth grade students enjoyed three days of water safety instruction and swim lessons at the Tonasket Community Pool on June 3-5.
The school district, in partnership with the Tonasket Park and Recreation District, received a Stronger Schools Grant through the Community Foundation of North Central Washington. The grant awarded $3,500 for included lifeguards, water safety instruction and pool costs.
Transportation was provided by the school district.
Included in the grant funding is a 20 percent-off swim lesson voucher for every fourth and fifth grade student to help each child pay for swimming lessons this summer at the pool.
“With the Okanogan River and the number of lakes in our area, drowning is a serious concern,” teacher Scott Olson said. “Many of us know of kids who have lost their lives to drowning.”
Trained water safety instructors and lifeguards will work with elementary students to achieve level one of the American Red Cross water safety. Students who already have the basics will be taught at their level to advance their skills. There are 171 students in the fourth and fifth grade who will be participating, according to a statement from the school.
“This is a great opportunity for the kids of our community,” said Tonasket Parks and Recreation District Chair Jordon Weddle. “The community drive and momentum that built the pool was largely fueled by the idea that all kids need to learn to swim and be safe in the water.”
Christine Olson, Scott Olson and Lilly Martin from the school, partnered with the Tonasket Park and Recreation District, represented by Jordon Weddle, to apply for a Stronger Schools Grant through the Community Foundation of North Central Washington.
“The Tonasket Park and Recreation District will be working to continue this program next year, in partnership with the Tonasket School District, with or without grant funding,” Weddle said. “We want all kids to learn basic water safety.”
The pool opened for the season June 10.
Sessions include public and lap swims, and lessons will be offered. Admission will be charged.
The pool is located in History Park on South Locust Way.
This year’s manager is Jennifer Cory.