Chapin High School is partnering with a local business to get students scuba certified through Open Water Dive training.
“This is the first year that Chapin High School has offered Marine Science as an elective science course,” said Wendy Rauch, Marine Science teacher. “Marine Science is an amazing course of study with growing career opportunities, but almost every field prefers candidates that are certified to dive.”
In preparation to teach the course, Rauch got scuba certified in May at the Wateree Dive Center and has been working to learn more about recreational diving. Andy Ogburn, a Chapin High School parent, owns and operates the family dive shop. The shop offers a Try Scuba class and suggested the course to Rauch as a way to see if her students were interested in the sport.
“I’m trying to bring the ocean to the students as well as a life-long sport/skill,” Rauch said. “Scuba is a buddy sport so certifying with friends and family is important. You cannot dive alone because it is very dangerous, so I thought if I could get enough students to sign up I would attend class and be an extra pair of hands helping participants learn or practice their skills. We also have Lake Murray right here – so we can all enjoy this sport at home as well as in the oceans.”
Students attended a short class at the Wateree Dive Center where they learned what it takes to become certified and learned how to use equipment required to dive. Students then traveled to the Northwest YMCA, suited up in wetsuits, jumped in the water and practiced the skills they learned.
Chapin High School senior Jackson Owings thinks it’s cool that his school offers this opportunity.
“I wanted to do this class because I am still trying to decide where I want to go to college and if I enjoy this class then I may decide to go somewhere near the water and major in Marine Science,” Owings said.
Chapin High School junior Paige Frick said, “I signed up because I thought it would be a fun experience. My favorite part of the training so far is breathing underwater with the regulator.”
To become certified the students must complete four classes and two days of diving.
Rauch hopes students become passionate about diving so that one day they can possibly change the world.
“This is a chance of a lifetime because one percent of the world’s population is certified to scuba dive,” Rauch said. “About 71 percent of the world is covered by water. We know more about Mars and the Moon than we do about what’s under the ocean. “If these students get certified and go out they could be the discoverer of the next species, they could be the discoverer of a wreck that hasn’t been found yet. They have so many opportunities and it just blows my mind.”