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Knights to make big splash during 2012-2013 school year
SUMMER may be over with classes starting tomorrow, but the faculty, staff and students at St. John’s School (entering its 50th year of providing world-class education) have something to celebrate, kicking off the 2012-2013 school year with a big splash.
Yesterday, nestled atop the hill at St. John’s School campus in Upper Tumon, overlooking the beautiful Tumon Bay, the dream of the Ysrael Sports Center became a reality. The utilitarian-styled, all American color-schemed red, white and blue competition swimming complex, opened to the SJS student body and faculty by way of a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Enduring the sweltering heat, nearly 150 invited guests, SJS students and faculty, contractors, benefactors, dignitaries, and members of the media were on-hand to witness the special event. Some of those included Speaker Judi Won Pat, former Sen. Frank Aguon, SJS Head Master Pat Bennett, and the driving force behind the 25-meter long, 6-foot deep, 7-lane international-competition qualified swimming pool – Michael Ysrael.
Opening the ceremony with a speech, Bennett, reflecting on a past trip to the area where the sports center now stands, recalled a barren and vacant space, commenting: “I have to tell you that at the time that felt more like a dream than a plan to me, but what I didn’t understand was that in the world of Ysraels, Chungs and Johnsons, dreams are built all the time as realities and so I have to thank those people this morning.”
Bennett added, “When you provide children a facility like this, the impact of your actions spans generations and it cannot be calculated and it can’t even be imagined.”
The proud Head Master, in speaking to her students, added: “To be able to support their development with a superb facility like this one is the greatest blessing we could get.”
Speaking on behalf of the entire SJS student body, Student Body President Lillian Gill, after thanking a list of those involved with the project, had this to say: “My fellow students are really excited to utilize this fabulous new addition to our campus and we invite you over anytime because the senior class is going to be having pool parties everyday.”
Michael Ysrael, entrepreneur, pillar of the community as well as a Saint John’s School alumnus, also addressed the audience: “As a family, we’ve always grown up as big believers of swimming. And as you know, the existing facilities on Guam (referring to the Hagåtña Pool) are approaching 40 years old and they’re in dire need of fixing up, or in this case an alternative.”
He continued: “We, referring to Guam, are an island, and drowning is one of the leading causes of death among young people. So one of our primary goals is to incorporate swim lessons into the curriculum.”
Desiring to make Guam more competitive on swimming’s world stage, Ysrael added: “To get to that level (mentioning Michael Phelps’ Olympic success) requires years, months of dedication, hours and hours of swimming back and forth. It teaches sacrifice, dedication and focus that will help young people accomplish long-term goals.”