OLW students enjoy swim lessons

Being a fair drive from Fort Frances, students at Our Lady of the Way School in Stratton previously hadn’t had the opportunity to partake in swimming lessons.
But now they do.
“It’s part of the government and our school board’s mandate to have quality daily physical activity for our students,” noted principal Brendan Hyatt. “It’s just another initiative that we have going on out here.”
Since the 2006-07 school year is his first at Our Lady of the Way, Hyatt said perhaps it had been seen as cost prohibitive in the past.
“But that’s not the way I look at it,” he stressed. “I think we should give kids that opportunity regardless of our location.
“I mean, they should be given the same opportunities as a student who lives right across from the pool.”
As such, three dozen students from kindergarten to Grade 4 started swimming lessons at the Memorial Sports Centre here earlier this month.
“They’re loving it, loving it,” Hyatt enthused. “The kids are thrilled. The parents are really happy about it.
“We’re here for kids,” he stressed. “It’s our job to give them every opportunity we can, whether it be in language arts, math, or physical education.”
Hyatt noted only eight students had formal swimming lessons prior to this.
“[It’s] key not only for them to become physically active, but for water safety,” he remarked. “I mean, this is the Rainy River District. Let’s face it—we’re surrounded by water.
“So why wouldn’t I give the kids an opportunity to be more sure and more aware of the safety the require around water?” he asked.
Parents, support staff, and some senior students go along with the children to help out.
“It’s a real community thing,” Hyatt said.
He added the families have supported the swimming lessons program, but the school has been able to take on most of the cost.
“They’re not paying for transportation or anything,” he noted. “It’s probably costing them less than it would to actually sign up for formal swimming lessons.”
And Hyatt stressed the pool staff has been wonderful and accommodating.
“Physical activity is important, so it was another opportunity for us to give the kids out here [in Stratton] an opportunity they may not have had the chance to have,” he remarked.