Wednesday, February 23, 2011

8th Grade Trips: A Letter From Crystal River, FL

This week our 8th graders went on their February Trips. John Schoultz (7th/8th Grade Science), Stephanie Keaney (1st-4th Grade Science), and Mary Winstead (Advancement Officer and Alumni Development) are with the second group of 8th graders finishing up their SCUBA certification and diving with the manatees in Crystal River, Florida.
  Dear Canterbury,

This trip has been GREAT. The first day in Savannah the weather was beautiful and the dolphin experience was great. We saw many dolphins, we played on the beach and the girls saw Paula Dean's house. That was especially thrilling for Caroline Y. and Christian H.

We then headed to Crystal River, FL. We were breathing air underwater the very first evening. The SCUBA classes have been long, hard, and cold, but our kids have really worked very hard. Everyone passed the written tests and all the pool dives. We are working on the last two dives to become fully certified this afternoon.

This course has felt like school. Students have had serious math calculations (determining pressure groups is a complex math calculation), science work (understanding pressure and density as it relates to air consumption), health (how nitrogen works, how hypoxia works), and they have had to learn teamwork since their lives depend on it.

We've had some amazing stories of success including one student who had significant worries and fears on the first day and took 30 minutes just to learn to breath with the regulator. Now she is dropping into the water like a champ. It has been amazing to watch.

We saw our first manatee in the wild yesterday (It was a mother and her calf swimming by the boat - it was great!), but will have much more contact this morning.

The biggest challenge so far has been the cold water and since our kids have no body fat, they get cold quickly. But I am so proud of their persistence and dedication.

We head to Atlanta tomorrow.



  1. Thanks Dave for posting this. It's great to hear about the kids learning so much and having such a great time. Cynthia Townes

  2. I am so excited for you all and can't wait to see pictures.
    Mrs. McIlwain