Valley senior puts in extra effort for swim team
Valley High School senior Melissa Anderson has seen efforts to help the school's swim team make a big splash. That's because her dedication to getting new scoring devices and timing systems for the high school's pool have come to fruition, with the help of a local YMCA.
Anderson's interest in securing new equipment began when she joined the team as a ninth-grader.
“We still used parents with stopwatches and clipboards,” said the 17-year-old New Kensington resident. “And without a scoreboard, it's difficult to get your times, and it's hard for spectators to know who won a close race.”
In her 10th-grade year, Anderson, who is now a swim team captain, began to look seriously for a way to bring the equipment to Valley High School's pool.
That was when she turned to the Pepsi Refresh Project, a 2010 initiative awarding grants to top vote-getters in different categories.
A $25,000 prize was just enough to cover the costs of a new timing system and a full scoreboard.
“I entered the contest and passed out flyers to my family, peers at my school and all around town,” she said. “I sent emails out to teachers, administrators and distant relatives. I even had my mom send out emails and links to people she knew.”
Within days, the Valley project had risen to 120th place out of 500 entries. Throughout the month of voting it held roughly the same position.
Though Anderson's efforts didn't bag the $25,000 grant for Valley, getting the word out got people interested. Anderson persisted throughout her junior year, too. With the help of others, she passed out flyers and sent emails requesting support.
Eventually, an offer came through from the Allegheny Valley YMCA. The Y was getting new equipment for its pool and looking for a home for its old touch pad system.
The system includes six touch pads, plus six backup buttons (in case a swimmer was to miss the touch pad or the system malfunctioned) as well as the computer system and a scrolling scoreboard.
The school began using the new system a little more than a week ago.
While using the touch pad takes some getting used to, Anderson said, Valley swimmers and opponents alike appreciate them. The touch pads are portable, so Valley was able to use them right away.
The scoreboards will be up soon, too.
“Once the scoreboard is installed, all of the swimmers will be able to see their times instantly, and that is what they're really looking forward to,” she said.
Anderson, who credits her mother with supporting her dreams and teaching her the value of hard work, is involved in many other activities outside of the pool.
Ranked first in her class, she said she has made high honor roll every year since the fourth grade. A Girl Scout, she has received both the Bronze and Silver awards. Last summer, when participating in the National American Miss Teen Pennsylvania Beauty Pageant, she received a first-place award for academic achievement.
For Anderson, finding a way to obtain new equipment for Valley's pool was about more than just making scoring easier.
“I have received so much through the opportunities afforded to me by this community,” she said. “Giving back is just my way of saying thank-you. I want to help as much as I can.”
Julie E. Martin is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Allegheny Township home destroyed by fire
- New Kensington Council names new police chief
- Experts calling for late fall foliage bloom in Southwestern Pa.
- ATI claims operations, production meet expectations; workers refute statement
- ‘Restaurant: Impossible’ tackles New Kensington eatery
- Upper Burrell to review minimum distance between homes, gas wells
- Vandergrift, East Vandergrift sewer separation projects near completion
- Out-of-control car strikes four vehicles, building in Verona
- State DEP investigating collapsed water treatment tank at ATI-Vandergrift
- Summit Academy students put skills to work
- Alle-Kiski Valley colleges, universities enrollment down