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Making a ‘Splash’: Elementary school swimming program a positive move for Vicksburg

Vicksburg is a city that cares about its children, and in an effort to ensure second and third graders learn how to swim a host of local entities have come together and formed a pilot program designed to teach water safety and swimming.

Splash, which is the acronym for Schools Practicing Life Altering Swim Habits, was the brainchild of Vicksburg Swim Association coach Mathew Mixon, but will also being supported by the City of Vicksburg, the Vicksburg Warren School District, the Vicksburg Catholic School and the Vicksburg YMCA.

Mixon said he has had the idea for a long time.

“There are other programs that use it, like in Tupelo and some on the Coast, that we’ve studied, but this is a one of a kind, unique program,” Mixon said, adding, “It was something I felt a need to do in our community, and put it together from there.”

Vicksburg and the Vicksburg YMCA will split the cost of the pilot program’s $15,000 operating budget and allow for use of their facilities.

Students from the VWSD and VSC will both participate in the program and the VCS will also cover the cost of transportation for all of the students in the program.

City Pool manager Sylvia Gurtowski, along with Mixon, Susan and Bob Athow, and the YMCA staff, will teach the classes.

Approximately 270 children will participate in the program’s initial run in 2017, and if it is a success, it can be expanded to all of Warren County’s elementary schools.

More positives in Vicksburg:

  • Gymsouth’s Taylor Stamps qualified for the region 8 gymnastics meet with her fifth place finish in the Mississippi state meet. Stamps became only the second gymnast in the 15-year history of Gymsouth to qualify for the regional meet. Stamps is the daughter of Francis and Derrick Stamps, and competed in the XCEL bronze division. She finished with an all-around score of 37.975.
  • Fifteen students from the Academy of Innovation and Vicksburg Junior High School advanced to the state science fair at Mississippi State University after placing at the MSEF Region II Science Fair at Jackson State University.
  • Kim Emfinger and Angie Zadrozny’s first grade classes at St. Francis Xavier Elementary School are now published authors. The students wrote one-page stories about an animal of their choosing, which also included an original art piece.