I am writing in favor of the OPRF High School pool referendum. I am an Oak Park resident and a pediatric physical therapist with over 20 years’ experience working with children with special needs in hospital, clinic and school-based settings. I have also provided aquatic physical therapy to hundreds of children through the years, teaching valuable health, safety and life skills in the water. 

I had the pleasure of serving as the physical therapist at OPRF High School for the 2014 and 2015 school years, working with the students in the Special Education program. During that time, I worked side by side with three excellent adaptive physical education teachers, Ms. Carlson, Ms. Topf, and Mr. Singletary, to teach students in the TEAM program how to be safe and active in the swimming pool. 

I had the opportunity to learn firsthand the limits of the current pools as well as the many benefits that would be provided by a new pool, and the comprehensive facility enhancements proposed by the board. 

Some in the “Vote No” camp state a new pool would primarily benefit the OPRF athletes, but I want to share that all students at OPRF High School benefit from the aquatics program, including those students enrolled in special education. 

Representatives of the special education department were included in the new facility planning process from the start. I met with the architects to discuss the needs of my students, and I was impressed with the questions they asked and the effort they made to understand and include all students in the plan for the new facility. 

For the health and safety of all students at OPRF, please consider voting Yes on the upcoming pool referendum. 

Susie Donohue

Oak Park

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