[youtube height=”315″ width=”560″]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lU_In_Nr5HQ[/youtube]
Celebrating the transformational journey that led to the creation of a cutting-edge athletic and wellness facility, the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for its Aquatic Center on Wednesday, April 22.
Speaking at the event was Olympic Gold Medalist Josh Davis. He described how a move into a neighborhood with access to a pool changed his life forever. Though not initially gifted in swimming, with practice, great coaching, and facilities, he came to be the best.
“When you have great coaching, great support, and you have a great facility, anything can happen,” said Davis.
Reminding everyone in attendance that the only limits are those that people place on themselves, he asked the audience to imagine being the best in the world at something.
“It can happen; It happened to me because I had a chance,” said Davis. “I had the facilities. I had people encouraging me and cheering me on. I am so excited for the kids of Harlingen because they have that same chance. They’ve got the great coaches, the great teachers, the great administrators, now they have the great facilities and who knows what’s going to happen. It happened to me, and it can happen to them.”
Along with the benefits to HCISD’s competitive swimmers, the facility is home to the newly launched Safely Educating Aquatic Learners (SEAL) program in late March.
As Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos spoke about his visit to the first day of the SEAL program, he said he came to realize that many of the parents accompanying their children at the pool did not know how to swim.
“The idea of whether or not someone knows how to swim will no longer be an exception in Harlingen,” said Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos. “We have a responsibility to ensure that everybody understands water safety. We are transforming public education to ensure that our kids are at the front of the line of opportunities. Our students have waited a long time for an opportunity like this. This is a great moment for our school district and our great city.”
Taking place at the Aquatic Center during students’ physical education periods, the SEAL program has served over 600 second grade students to date.
“This has been a long day coming,” said Sandra Flinn Aquatics Coordinator. “I think the impact on our community is going to be limitless because of how it will impact our children, our swimmers, and our community. It’s a great opportunity and an amazing day. We’re going to educate our youngest, elevate our swim teams, and enhance the wellness of our faculty and staff.”
The Aquatic Center features a 10-lane 25-yard competition pool, a separate fitness pool and a diving well. Spectators are also welcome as the facility has over 400 seats.
Voters approved the new facility in May 2010 as part of the $98.6 million bond initiative. Additional bond projects include the AG Farm, Performing Arts Center, the new Memorial Middle School campus and Boggus Stadium renovations.