The Bremerton Schools Foundation, a group charged with helping raise money for scholarships and other programs for students in the Bremerton School District, has just established the “Bremerton Olympian Endowment” due to the generous contribution of Bremerton graduate and Olympian Tara Kirk. The $25,000 endowment will fund an elementary swim program for the district for years to come.
“This is a huge contribution,” Flip Herndon, superintendent of BSD, said. “It says a lot about the district when people go out into the world and succeed, but then come back and give back.”
Bremerton has produced three Olympic swimmers during the Summer Games of 2004 and 2008. Tara wants other Bremerton Students to have the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of these Olympians.
“Swimming and the Bremerton Schools have been vital parts of my life,” Kirk said. “It is important for me to give back to our community.”
It is important for kids in a water community to know how to swim, BSD officials said. Drowning accidents are avoidable if students are water safe and this elementary swim program will help Bremerton schools reach the goal of eliminating drowning incidents among school-age children. An elementary swim program also will encourage kids to be more active and introduce them to a pool where they can exercise and stay out of trouble.
Kirk, born in Bremerton in 1982, graduated from Bremerton High School before she went on to swim in the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. She won a silver medal swimming in the preliminary heats of the 400 Medley Relay and she set the world short course meters record in the 100 meter breaststroke at the 2004 Women’s NCAA Championships while swimming for Stanford University. She also was named “Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year” and recived the NCAA Top Eight Award.
During the last four years, Bremerton Schools Foundation has awarded more than $84,000 in student scholarships and more than $50,000 in educator grants. Today, Bremerton Schools Foundation continues to spearhead the business community, alumni and resident’s support to ensure the education of Bremerton students.
“Community involvement is critical to the support of students during these tough economic times,” Herndon said. “It is just amazing when someone steps up like Tara has.”