By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
LYNN — The Lynn YMCA provided water safety seminars this week and is offering free basic swimming lessons to all students at Breed Middle School for the second year in a row.
Last June, 13-year-old Jose Angel Capellan Rodriguez, a Breed student, drowned at Walden Pond in the Lynn Woods Reservation, where swimming is prohibited.
Danielle Jolly, a special education teacher at the school, said students were taught about how to react in a similar emergency in the aftermath of his death. Most of the children were unaware that they should not jump in to save someone in trouble unless they are trained to do so.
“The students who were with (Jose) went in after him,” said Jolly. “When talking to students, they were unaware that they shouldn’t have gone in. I was a lifeguard for 12 years. When people are struggling in the water, they panic and they bring you down with them if you’re not a strong swimmer.”
In a presentation Thursday morning, executive director of the Lynn YMCA Audrey Jimenez and aquatics director Matt Alessi outlined general water safety rules and precautions that students should take.
“We have lost people every year to drowning,” said Jimenez. “In light of the student we lost last year from Breed and anyone else you may know who we have lost, let’s have a moment of silence.”
The YMCA has been providing free swimming lessons to Breed students on Saturdays for the past year. The next session will begin June 19 and run through Aug 27. There is also a free teen class available to all middle- and high school-aged children in Lynn offered on Tuesday and Sundays, she said.
A free water safety seminar for all Lynn parents and families at Breed Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. The program will be offered in English and Spanish.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte