‘Extremely disappointing’: Petition for Lejeune swim team questions military kids' support – Jacksonville Daily News

A petition calling on Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) to fund the Lejeune High School swim team for the 2021-22 season is closing in on 1,000 signatures.
Lejeune parent Jen Lavato’s kids don’t swim, but she felt the need to start the petition on Sept. 10 to garner support for the military kids who do.
“We feel that our military children, particularly our athletes, have been adversely affected by the ongoing COVID pandemic,” the petition says. “We sign the petition because we believe that competitive sport opportunities and activities, such as swimming, are critical in maintaining their total well-being during the bleakest winter months.” 
“It’s important that these kids have all the accessibility to programs and extracurriculars outside of education that other schools have,” Lavato said. “To not have this available … it’s extremely disappointing.” 
In response to questions submitted to the school, DoDEA spokesperson Tracy Fidler said the only winter sports being offered at Lejeune High School this year are basketball and wrestling.
MORE: Judge denies motion to dismiss Camp Lejeune housing lawsuit
“We build our extracurricular program based on the needs and interests of our students,” Fidler said in an email. “When making program decisions, we seek to balance student interest, school needs and available resources. After careful review, we prioritized conference sports. I realize the decision to not continue swimming will be difficult for some students.” 
The decision on winter sports is final, according to Fidler, who also said that their extracurricular program is reviewed annually. 
On the petition’s webpage at www.change.org, one parent commented about what swimming means to her daughter, who just started in her fifth district and second high school. 
“In every location, [swimming] has always allowed her a way to meet and connect with her peers,” wrote Melissa Marema. “Our military children NEED a way to connect to their new schools, and swim provides this for so many.”
Another parent wrote that their son is crushed to think that there may not be a swim team. 
“Bottom line, we feel as if the Department of Defense (Education) Activity Schools are not supporting the military child,” the petition says. 
“I think the kids, the parents and the team in the past have proven that this is a sport that is worthy of caring about,” Lavato said. “To have it X’ed off the calendar for this year – it’s pretty disappointing.” 
To view the petition, visit www.change.org and search Lejeune High School Swim Team. 
MORE: Southwest Onslow High teacher named county’s teacher of the year
Reporter Calvin Shomaker can be reached at [email protected] 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *