Scuba Club explores new depths

Out of the various different clubs and teams that Westminster has, the scuba club may be one of the most interesting and unique clubs of all.

“The scuba club is basically a way for students to get certified [to scuba dive] or for certified students to participate in various scuba activities,” said senior Gabi Barros, co-leader of scuba club.

The scuba club is led by seniors Barros and Daniel Eisenhauer.

“Daniel and I mostly do the organizing,” said Barros.

These students are in charge of getting the word out about the club to the Westminster community and getting people to sign up for it. They also plan the meetings and help out at pool sessions.

Colleen Glaude, Westminster’s dean of instructional technology, is also a divemaster and the faculty advisor for the scuba club. She is in charge of the pool sessions, where she instructs the club members and teaches them how to scuba dive.

“I’ve been a scuba instructor as long as I’ve been a teacher, so 26 years,” said Glaude.

She began scuba diving in college when she took it as a PE course.

“I tried it out in college and got hooked,” said Glaude.

Since then, she has gotten involved with scuba diving at every school she has taught or worked at that has a pool.

The scuba club gives interested students the opportunity to receive a scuba certification through the school. A scuba certification is required in order to scuba dive around Atlanta and around the world. Interested faculty and parents are allowed to join as well. In order to receive a scuba certification, people must follow a certain certification process. Once a week, members wishing to get certified meet at the Westminster pool for pool sessions, where they learn the fundamentals of scuba diving and get their required number of hours to become certified. At the pool sessions, members are in a pool with scuba gear while an instructor teaches them how each piece of their gear works.

“[The pool sessions] were half on land and half in the water,” said scuba-certified junior Klara Lou.

On land, they mostly learn about the preparation before a dive, such as checking to see if they have enough oxygen, if the oxygen is clean enough to use, whether or not the oxygen has expired, and more. Underwater, they practice safety, such as what to do if they run out of air while they are underwater or if they cannot find their partner and they are alone. They go over and practice many “what-if” scenarios.

“[The scenarios] were for making sure you know what to do if something happens,” said Lou.

Last year, eight people got certified, including two parents and one eighth grader.

The scuba club also gives certified students the opportunity to scuba dive around Atlanta, such as at the Georgia Aquarium.

“We’re looking into volunteer opportunities, like helping out at the Georgia Aquarium,” said Eisenhauer.

The leaders plan on getting the club members to participate in service projects such as helping students with disabilities, volunteering at the Georgia Aquarium, and cleaning up trash.

One of the most exciting aspects of the scuba club is the Bahamas trip during the summer. For the final part of the scuba certification process, one must do an open water dive. The club members getting their certification do their open water dive in the Bahamas.

“Ms. Glaude had the idea to go abroad because it would be an interesting experience,” said Barros.

The trip originally started last summer through Westminster’s connection to the Island School on Eleuthera, which is in the Bahamas.

“[The trip] was very eye opening because we didn’t go to the tourist part of the Bahamas,” said Lou.  “We got to see the local culture.”

This summer, the scuba club will travel to Grand Bahamas Island. They will work with UNEXO, which stands for Underwater Explorers Society, who help with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. Club members will participate in dolphin and shark encounters and learn about these two species.

While every part of the scuba club is exciting, many of the club members agree that the best part of scuba diving is the entirely different and diverse world underwater.