When it comes to the Bryan County Board of Education, we have all learned to pick and choose our battles, but recently, I have decided to pick a battle and need the help of other concerned Bryan County parents.
I run the Richmond Hill Swim Club, and we have a summer-league swim team that competes throughout the summer in the Savannah Coastal Swim League with other surrounding counties. Recently, at a SCSL board meeting, they were voting on the dates of the swim meets and the date of the city meet (this is the big season-ending swim meet where all the teams compete against each other). Most of the SCSL is in Chatham County. Chatham County’s last day of school is June 8, and they return to school on Aug. 28. The SCSL wanted to end the season with the city meet on Aug. 5. Well, if that happens, Bryan County will no longer be able to swim in the city meet because we go back to school on Aug. 3 this year.
How did Bryan County’s end and start dates for school get so different from a county where most of us work or our children attend camps? Our children are being excluded from some great camps and sporting events in the summer because we are on a completely different schedule than Chatham County. Bryan County doesn’t have the sporting venues or camps that are available in Chatham County. If our start dates keep getting moved earlier and earlier, then we will no longer be able to attend camps and summer sporting programs in Chatham County. Will our Board of Education supply these camps to the children of Bryan County?
A lot of us grew up around here, and we loved the dog days of summer. It is the epitome of the South. Long, hot days spent at the pool, the beach, crabbing, hunting ghost crabs, rolling in marsh mud to cool off — you name it, and we did it. I am sad for the kids today that they miss this. What happened to getting out of school in June and returning after Labor Day? If other school districts can figure out how to do their CRCT testing to be able to allow those school dates to work, then why can’t we?
Please, please encourage our local school board to take into consideration the summer camps and sporting events that we are starting to be excluded from in Chatham County because our dates are so different from theirs. Encourage them to look into making our dates compatible with Chatham County’s dates. We are sister counties and our daily schedules are always intertwined. Richmond Hill’s swim team is three years old now, and our kids came in fourth out of 12 teams in the city two years in a row. We are a coastal area with a lot of good swimmers — not being part of a summer swim league because we are already back in school while other counties are still swimming would be devastating to a growing program. Go to the Bryan County schools website and click on board members, then click on each member and send them an email (it even allows you to copy it to each board member) or go to the next board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 23 at RHPS and tell them how you feel!
Cowan is also coach of the Wildcats Swim Team.