New pool is cool and now open at St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center

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“It makes them feel like they are the best,” said Dale Wallace.

They are the swim students, all developmentally disabled, of St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center and students that can now use the newly opened junior Olympic sized pool in El Cajon located at 2119 E. Madison. The aquatic center’s ribbon cutting and ceremony was Sept. 9.

“It makes them feel like they are the best,” said Dale Wallace.

They are the swim students, all developmentally disabled, of St. Madeleine Sophie’s Center and students that can now use the newly opened junior Olympic sized pool in El Cajon located at 2119 E. Madison. The aquatic center’s ribbon cutting and ceremony was Sept. 9.

Wallace’s son, 27-year-old Sheldon, was born with Down syndrome. Sheldon Wallace, along with other students, celebrated the pool’s opening by jumping into the pool and swimming.

“This is one of the only pools with a wheelchair ramp,” noted Debra Emerson, CEO. “We raised the money in about two years.”

Many donors, board members, and guests, such as Phyllis and John Parrish, numbering around 250, enjoyed the catered event, ceremony, music, and ribbon cutting.

Part of the Center’s 410 students comprises the Special Olympics swim team (40 students) that is led by swim teacher Kim Holt. Not just the swim team, named the Tritons, will get to enjoy the heated pool; the pool will be for all students as well.

Holt said, “We teach floating, all the strokes like backstroke, butterfly, free style, and more.”

Holt will also be starting up a snorkeling program. She said adaptive swim team classes will be offered to the community in the spring of 2018.  Check with the aquatic center for eligibility and for further information.

Cali Williams, 28, of San Diego and a student, said, “I work the snack bar.” Her mother, Becky, said, “We are going to see about getting her IPP changed so she can do swim for her knee.”

Adam Aceves handled the sound system for the event that also had Kinnie Dye, a musician, singer and songwriter, contributing to the poolside festivities. Redtail Catering had tented stations set up that offered a selection of crepes, appetizers, desserts, and drinks.

Commemorative tiles were also displayed for those who wish to purchase one. Sponsorship of a locker is available as well.

Sophie’s Gallery & Gift Shop, a part of the organization located on Rea Avenue in El Cajon, will be participating in the 2017 Alley Cat Art & Wine Walk on Sept. 15. Visit www.stmsc.org for information on the organization and their up-and-coming events.

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