On October 3rd ten sixth, seventh and eighth grade students from the Seaside Neighborhood School officially became certified as PADI Junior Scuba Divers.
The youths participated in Seaside's Marine Discovery mentoring course begun in 2010, and they represent the program's 5th graduating class.
The six week course includes three classroom sessions, followed by two swimming pool sessions, where the kids apply their "textbook" knowledge, getting acclimated to scuba equipment and breathing underwater for the first time.
New for the fall 2012 class was instruction and sponsorship by ScubaTech of Northwest Florida, a leading dive shop in Destin. After the instructor who launched the scuba program moved to south Florida, ScubaTech welcomed the opportunity to step in and introduce the youthful group to the world of diving. Greg Christie was the lead Instructor, and Divemaster Tim Steadman assisted with all in water sessions.
Another first for 2012 was that a Seaside School faculty member also took the opportunity to learn scuba. Balder Saunders is the school's music teacher - and a founding member of the popular local band, Dread Clampitt. By chance he was assigned as the school staff liaison to monitor the course. The first day of class Mr. Saunders expressed his desire to get certified some day. Instructor Greg Christie then suggested that this would be the perfect time to take the course, so the teacher immediately became a student as well.
Week six of the course involves "open water" dives, where students perform a number of exercises that must be completed in a natural body of water.
For more information about Seaside Neighborhood School programs, call 850-231-0396, or visit their website: www.seasideschool.net.