Summer is time for learning -- to swim


July 01, 1999|By Diane B. Mikulis | Diane B. Mikulis,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IN THE shallow end of the pool, two preschoolers dip their faces into the cool water and reach for rings held underwater by swimming instructor Brian Vanisko.

"Don't forget to blow bubbles," he says, and the two pupils willingly oblige.

On the other side of the rope, children float on their backs while others take turns demonstrating their freestyle form.

"That's the way to do it!" "All right!" the instructors sing out.

This is the Glenelg Country School pool at the beginning of summer.

Aquatics director Vanisko and his staff teach swimming to about 150 children each summer. Lessons are offered as part of the school's day camp program and to the community at large.

The lessons follow the American Red Cross Learn to Swim program. Vanisko said that all the instructors are Red Cross-certified.

The kids progress through levels of proficiency and receive cards as they complete each level. They also learn water safety skills.

"This is a national program," Vanisko says. "That means that if you pass a certain level in Maryland, the card is recognized in California."

Vanisko is assisted by his staff -- his wife, Alicia Vanisko; Sarah Cooke; Dawn Gero; and Mike Mercer.

The instructors are well-liked by the children. With the encouragement of the staff, the youths try new skills even when they are reluctant to do so.

Patti Reynolds' children, Avery, 7, and Bryce, 4, have taken lessons at the Glenelg Country School pool. The Glenelg woman says both have been successful in the water.

"The teachers are caring, and they've found the right balance of encouraging the kids and challenging them without pushing too hard," Reynolds said.

Daughter Avery concurs.

"I had good teachers and they helped me learn new things, like diving last year," she says.

Avery is coming back for her third summer of lessons. Bryce is beginning his second.

This is Vanisko's 10th year managing the pool and the lesson program. He is a physical education teacher at Fulton Elementary School.

Looking back on those 10 summers, Vanisko said, "The best thing is watching the kids succeed. All of a sudden, they accomplish something -- like the preschoolers going underwater -- and that makes it all worthwhile."

Vanisko notes that some of the children he has taught have come back as counselors for the camp. He says he is amazed at how quickly they have grown up.

The Glenelg lesson program has new sessions scheduled for Tuesday to July 15 and July 19-30.

The classes meet for 25 minutes in the afternoon, four days a week for two weeks.

"There's been an overwhelming response last year and this year," Vanisko says. He plans to add a fourth session in August.

The pool offers memberships to the community. Hours this month are from 4: 30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and noon to 8 p.m Saturdays and Sundays.

In August, the hours will be noon to 8 p.m. daily.

Glenelg Country School offers a range of summer camp programs, including traditional day camp as well as camps in tennis, basketball, soccer and lacrosse.

There is a camp for pre-kindergartners and an adventure week for teens.

Camp director Paul Weir says there are openings in new sessions that begin this month.

Information on swimming lessons and pool memberships: 410-531-7364. Information on summer camp programs: 410-531-7352.

Glenelg Country School is at 12793 Folly Quarter Road.

Glenelg jazz

The Glenelg High School Jazz Ensemble will perform at the Columbia Lakefront at 8 p.m. Tuesday. This is a farewell concert on the eve of the group's departure for Europe.

The group will perform at the North Sea Jazz Festival in the Netherlands and the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.

The ensemble also will make a stop in Germany and perform there.

Come enjoy the free concert and wish these talented musicians "bon voyage."

Our kids are winning honors

High school seniors at Glenelg and River Hill high schools received numerous awards at graduation.

So many were recognized that their names would fill several columns. Some are mentioned below; others will be mentioned in the weeks to come.

At Glenelg High School, the top 5 percent of the class of 212 students includes Bethany Biersdorf, Lynsey Caldwell, Monica D'Angelo, Kiva Feldman, Matthew Gaylor, Kristan Jadwick, Jeffrey McDonald, Kacie Petrlik, Sarah Placella, Kara Riel and Kristin Smith.

Among the top 10 percent are Josh Behsudi, Jennifer Good, Blair Heinke, Kirsten Hogan, Bevan Kirley, Ashley Miller, David Nuenke, Brandon Robertson, Lori Tvarkunas and Denise Warfield.

National Merit Scholarship Commended Students are Bethany Biersdorf, Lynsey Caldwell, Sarah Cummings, Monica D'Angelo, Kiva Feldman, Kristan Jadwick, Sarah Placella and Elizabeth Smith.

Winners of Maryland Science and Technology Scholarships are Brian Dignan, Craig Haughton, Joshua Richmond, Elizabeth Smith and Adam Strickler.

Receiving the Glenelg High School Award of Scholarship for outstanding academic achievement and leadership are Rebecca Bostron and Gia Palacorolla.

Pub Date: 7/01/99

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