White header with pink waves White header with pink waves
Blue bubble icon Blue bubble icon Blue bubble icon Blue bubble icon Blue bubble icon Blue bubble icon
Dark blue header with white waves. Dark blue header with white waves.

Letter to Jan Emler from former teacher Sophia McKenzie

Aug 17, 2016

Authored by Emlerswim

April 30, 2016

Dear Jan,

I am writing to show my gratitude for creating a company that has made such an impact on my life and helped to shape the person I am today. Fifteen years ago, I started working as a swim instructor at the Colleyville location; I worked there for five years (from ages 15-20). During this formative time in my young adulthood, the skills I learned while teaching students and helping train fellow teachers are immeasurable. I enjoyed meeting you at a few training events and admired you, Kendra, and all the other strong woman employed at Emler.

Your teaching methods are so wonderful. I have been revisiting them now that I have my own son (four years old); it has been so enjoyable remembering and sharing the techniques and themes with him at the beach. It's amazing how it all comes back! His favorite theme is one I made up---Busy Harbor---with cargo ships, pier fishing, car ferries, sunken ship exploring, etc. Feel free to borrow that one, it's a hit!

I left Emler permanently in 2006 (I was working summers only while in college) to move to the Virgin Islands, where my year abroad has turned into ten. I often reflect on working at Emler and think so fondly of the entire experience. I could not have asked for a better first job. You set the bar high and I am so thankful for that and hope many other young people are currently experiencing the joy I did as an instructor.

Keep up the great work, and drop me a line if you're ever in St. Thomas!

Sophia McKenzie

Emler Swim instructor Sophia McKenzie in the pool teaching a swim lesson to kids

(Sophia teaching at Emler Swim School of Colleyville, in 2000.)

Sophia McKenzie keeps herself busy homeschooling their child, managing a short-term rental property, and she said she keeps her feet "wet" in the marine biology field.

She earned her masters degree in marine and environmental science shortly after their child was born and guest-lectures at the University of the Virgin Islands a few times a year. Sophia said she occasionally also does part time contract work for conservation projects in the territory.