May 20, 2012
By Lauren Mickler
EUGENE, Ore. — Andrew Tupper learned how to swim at a young age, but he realized growing up, a lot of his peers didn’t have that same privilege, and he saw how that lack of knowledge can be dangerous.
Andrew took a survey of all his classmates at Churchill High School and found more than 100 kids said they didn’t know how to swim.
Andrew is now working with the YMCA and school administrators to try to put a swimming requirement in place in the 4J School District.
“We started with them just being relaxed in the water and just blowing bubbles, and they ended up being able to go into nine feet of water. They were terrified at first, but they did it. They went into nine feet of water, and they learned valuable lessons on how to save themselves,” said YMCA Aquatics Director Jackie Manley.
“I like being able to help people, and I think it’s something that everyone should do and we don’t do enough of. So it makes me feel good, but I still feel like I could do more,” said Tupper.
He is working toward doing much more.
Twenty-five students came to Andrew’s first lesson, but he hopes to reach out to all the kids in 4J.
He plans to pitch his swim lesson model to the school board and see if they can work together on a program with the goal of making sure every student knows how to swim by graduation.