DANVILLE — The drowning deaths of two Danville children last July spurred North Ridge Middle School’s Future Problem Solvers to tackle the issue of water safety within their own community.
“We had two drowning (incidents) that happened last summer, and we don’t want that to happen again,” seventh-grader Crystina Wayne said.
“Through our research we found that professional swimming lessons are marketed as a luxury not a necessity,” she added.
During the school year, the group of sixth- through eighth-graders tried out the dry land water safety courses they developed and wrote letters to State Rep. Chad Hays to appeal to him to make professional swimming lessons for all elementary school-aged children in Illinois a state law and to provide community funding to support the lessons.
“Everyone put in about 200 hours each on this project,” Crystina said.
It turned out to be time well spent.
The group’s project, titled “Liquid Lifesavers: Dry Out Drowning by Teaching Water Safety Smarts,” beat out other Future Problem Solvers groups statewide to earn the privilege of representing Illinois in their age division at the Future Problem Solvers International competition next Thursday through June 15 at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. This is the sixth time that the North Ridge group has participated in the Future Problem Solving Program.
The competition draws about 9,000 young future problem solvers in three age divisions — elementary, junior and senior — from around the globe.
The North Ridge students always compete in the community problem solving category. At the competition next week, the group will be judged on their project, with judges also interviewing the students and asking them questions about their project.
North Ridge math teacher Lori Woods, who is the groups’ adviser, said this year’s Liquid Lifesavers project focuses on these main goals: educate the community about the dangers of swimming in public places and at home; educate the community about water safety, swimming smarts and the basics of swimming; create a community of CPR-certified first responders; and inform the community about the dangers of natural waterways and dams and provide education about cleaner waterways.