Students from the Alternative School in Agat, Guam, are being given a rare opportunity to scuba dive. This facility is designed for students in the sixth through twelfth grades who have disciplinary problems and are at risk of dropping out of school.
Tosca Lindberg is their teacher and diving instructor. She has nine years of experience as a teacher and is as excited about this new program as her students are! "This is just a great thing for them. It’s a totally positive experience," she said. "It gives them something to brag about. I mean, how many (middle and high) school students can say they are diving certified?"
The school handles students who have both short term and more serious long-term disciplinary problems. The school prinicipal explained that the students who attend his school need the unique and challenging experience that the scuba diving program offers.
While the scuba program for these kids teaches a definable skill, the most important benefit they receive is a sense of wonder and of accomplishment…with a more positive attitude about how each of them can fit into the larger scheme of life as they age.
Vincente Lind, a 14-year-old freshman from Dededo, received his open-water certification through the program. He would now like to train for the next diving level, advanced diving. "It feels really nice in the water," he said. "It’s like you don’t have to worry about nothing."
Lindberg complimented the group’s dedication to the program. "They’re so comfortable because they are active kids. (They gain) a great sense of accomplishment, confidence, and on top of that, vocational skills," she said.
Last week the students went for the final dive toward their open-water certification. This is most likely their last dive as a class. After that dive, sophomore Efraim Sazon, 16, surfaced and said: "It’s wonderful. Everything I see is so beautiful."