The following letter was sent from Leo M. Bulavko, Secretary, Save Harford County Swimming, Inc., to Harford County Public Schools Superintendent Barbara Canavan. A copy was provided to The Dagger for publication.
Dear Superintendent Canavan:
I was feeling restless this morning and took to surfing the internet for local news, and came upon the story linked here. It is always a tragedy when a young life is lost. It is all the more tragic when it could’ve been prevented. You’ll note in this article that young J.J. Harvillicz did not know how to swim.
It doesn’t take a huge effort to connect the dots here. Could this death have been prevented if J.J. Harvillicz knew how to swim? Maybe, possibly, who knows? As a parent, a long-time swimmer, and a member of Save Harford County Swimming, that’s enough for me. It should be enough for you, as well. What’s the cost to save lives? That’s what we’re really talking about here, isn’t it? If one precious child is alive because they had the opportunity to learn how to swim, then no price paid to keep a pool open, or to provide lessons to the community, is too high.
When my son, Josh, spoke to you and the Board of Education for the first time several months ago, he said, quite plainly, that “Swim lessons save lives.” For the last 2 summers, Josh taught dozens of young people – as an HCPS employee, mind you – how to swim. How much safer are they now that they know this life skill? And what was the cost of this service? Fifty-five dollars. How much is that when you’re talking about the life of a child?
I understand and appreciate the weighty decisions you must make in your position. But as you and the Board of Education discuss the budget in the weeks ahead, I’d urge you to think of the real human costs of what eliminating swimming in Harford County could be.
Leo M. Bulavko
Save Harford County Swimming, Inc.