Scholarship Helps Teach Kids to Swim

Kids at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club waiting their turn to swim.

Student Council, Boys & Girls Club Partner to Make it Possible

In response to the tragedy of Deejion Fullman last August, the Milford Middle School Student Council helped raise money to establish a scholarship fund, in Deejions’s name, which will be used to help residents in the Milford School District learn how to swim through the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club. Student Council sponsor Judith Jones Woods admits that her student council members were deeply affected by the drowning of Deejion Fullman and some of the students were even present at the time of the incident.

In a letter to the Boys & Girls Club Ms. Woods stated “In reflecting on the occurrence, [the students] realized a greater and more sobering truth: that a disproportionate number of minority students die by drowning every summer. Upon further discussion, they realized that many children in our community are economically disadvantaged; they may not have a backyard swimming pool or a membership to the country club where they can learn how to swim.”

All of the members of the Milford Middle School Student Council agreed that action should be taken and created a plan that would raise money for these economically disadvantaged students to learn how to swim and be safe around water.

The Student Council held a walkathon at the Middle School raising donations that created the ability for the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club to endow a scholarship for free swim lessons for school aged children. Around 70 students participated in the Middle School walkathon and raised $350 to be donated in honor of Deejion Fullman.

The Boys & Girls Club was able to use this money to offer children under the age of 5 free swim lessons at the Club pool in Milford. The swim lessons made possible by the Middle School Student Council began on Friday, July 22 at the Club.

Aquatics Director for the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club, Sarah Ziccarelli commented “I am so proud of the students at the Middle School. I was told that one of the student council members was there during the Deejion Fullman tragedy and he said that if he had been able to swim better he would have tried to save Deejion. That breaks my heart.”

The donated money for the scholarship has allowed the Boys & Girls Club to cover swim lessons for the preschool aged children, helping them learn how to swim and basic water safety skills. Under the Michael Phelps Foundation the Boys & Girls Club has been able to offer free swim lessons to kids above the age of 5 and the generosity of the Middle School Students Council has allowed those free lessons to be extended to all age groups at the Club, beginning water safety at the earliest possible age. The Michael Phelps swimming lessons have developed great confidence and swimming skills in the kids who are participating and the lessons made possible by the student council will surely do the same.

Although young, the students of the Milford Middle School, under the direction of Ms. Judith Woods, have shown a great maturity by demonstrating these acts of selfless compassion. The programs that their donations created will have a positive effect on the future generations of the Milford community.