May 26, 2010 // Local

Scuba instruction makes a splash for St. Anthony

St. Anthony seventh graders listen to scuba instructors during gym class.

SOUTH BEND — For the second year in a row, physical education teacher Chris Fowler has brought the world of scuba to the Midwest. In partnership with local business Just Add H2O, St. Anthony’s offers the seventh-grade class a glimpse into the world of scuba. Fowler’s goal as a teacher is to constantly challenge his students from pre-K through eighth grade to see physical education as a lifelong commitment that can come in many forms.

St. Anthony seventh-grader Austin Truler listens to directions from the instructor.

Fowler took his scuba certification through Just Add H2O and through this relationship with owner Kathy Lampert, the idea to expose his students to scuba developed.
Seventh-grade teacher Jaci Byrne loves the uniqueness and excitement that the scuba experience brings to the seventh graders. She praised the Just Add H2O team for their knowledge and ability to work with the children at their comfort level. The class was held at the YMCA in South Bend and each child was able to experience scuba and do as much or as little in the water as they felt comfortable.

Student Ben Taelman enthusiastically claimed it to be “cool, terrific and not scary at all.” Fellow seventh-grader Matthew Faccenda thought it was a blast and wants to not only do it again but also get certified.

Fowler, along with four scuba instructors, worked with the students from the initial introduction and question-and-answer period through getting into the water and actually diving. The instructors worked with the students in groups of four and were patient in teaching them about the equipment, how to breathe, move around and dive.
Parent Maureen Sibilla attended the session and was incredibly impressed with the instruction, patience and care provided by Just Add H2O. She is so pleased that St. Anthony’s can present new and different experiences that help the students challenge their thinking about physical activity and what it can offer for a lifetime. Student Gio Schulte summed it up by saying she thought it was a blast and realized how lucky she was to have the opportunity to discover something new and now says, “bring on the ocean … I’m ready for more.”

Just Add H2O has been doing business in the area since 1976 as JR Aquatic. In 2008, they changed their name to Just Add H2O but their commitment to offering comprehensive training and a full-range of scuba equipment has remained unchanged. They now offer two locations to serve the public, their original location on 11th Street in Niles, Mich., (269) 684-7007 and their newest location at Heritage Square in Granger, (574) 217-7724.

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