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International Swim Meet: A Parent’s Reflection

Letter sent from parent Robyn Pratt to Verdala School Leadership and swim instructor Galya Umnova on 11 April 2016.  Published with the permission of Ms Pratt

We have just returned last night with the VIS swimming team following their participation in the Maribor Swimming Championships. 

I wanted to take a moment to tell you what a fantastic weekend of teamwork, family spirit, commitment and learning this was for the children.  So often these events come and go and everyone enjoys the moment but for me this weekend really bought home to me the wonderful opportunities that being part of the Verdala community brings for our children and parents. 

I am confident that our children would never have the opportunity to compete in events such as this if it weren’t for the genuine passion and motivation of Miss Galya.  She is an inspiration for the children and the parents.  We were at the pool from 0800 until 1900 on Saturday and it was so hot that you could hardly breathe at times and crowded and noisy however, every singe child and parent stayed until the last VIS swimmer had swum and we were definitely the loudest supporters there and the only team with our big GO Verdala banner flying.  And when Vickie who had swum several races during the day and was exhausted and was swimming her last race of the day which was 200metres people looked on at us with amazement as Galya came up to be with us and got everyone chanting and cheering Vickie on despite her tiredness. 

Each parent commented on the incredible team spirit and support that the children gave to each other and this was very evident yesterday when we went zip lining and some of the kids were really struggling through the course as it got more difficult but each child who had got through one of the courses stopped and talked the next one through and when it was really tough Miss Debbie and Miss Galya were amazing in their encouragement and step by step directions to get the kids through the very tough patches.  I was very impressed with these two people who are in charge of our children as part of the teaching community at Verdala and I wanted you to know how wonderful they were in making every child feel that “they could do it” and got everyone to celebrate their achievements as they got through the various levels of the course.

The children were a credit to the school.  Well mannered, supportive and appreciative and I truly believe this reflects the school community and I wanted to not let this opportunity pass without saying THANKYOU for your support in allowing us to take our children out of school for the day to participate.  They definitely grew a little more in their understanding of what it takes to achieve success and that is an important learning for us all.

Having had friends recently lose both their son and daughter in the Brussels airport bombing and to hear words from the dad at the Memorial Service when he encouraged parents to cherish and treasure these special experiences we have with our kids it was indeed special for me to not just experience this with Sebastian but to feel the sense of community and family evident throughout not just the weekend but in the planning and preparation where parents like Krystina Monteforte did what they had to do to “just make it happen”. 

Thanks again to all who made this weekend happen and thanks to the school heads for your ongoing support of these initiatives, what the children learn over these types of trips is something that they will keep for the rest of their lives. 

Have a great week and best wishes