The striking view of Pedder Bay, from above and below, will greet summer students this year.
Ian Mitchell, a teacher in the alternative education program at Gulf Islands Secondary School on Salt Spring Island, will take 16 students from across the province under water for schooling at Pearson college July 14 to Aug. 3.
“The kids are going to learn marine biology, they’ll receive an independent directed studies Grade 12 credit, and we teach the kids how to SCUBA dive at the same time,” Mitchell said.
It’s a new high school program for B.C. but Mitchell offered one in Ontario before moving to the Gulf Islands, working with Sooke School Board to present the course
“We’re opening up to all students in British Columbia,” he said of the program run through Sooke School District. The residential program costs $2,899.
“That includes everything, room and board, excursions the course and the SCUBA certification program,” Mitchell explained. “These are all kids that like to swim, they all usually own fish tanks, have a fascination with water … or they’ve all put on a snorkel and a mask at some time and are fascinated with what’s in the water.”
Students will live and learn at Lester B. Pearson College in Metchosin.
“They had the amazing facilities, the residences, the marina,” he said. “Jacques Cousteau he compared the area, the amount of life under the water, second only to the Red Sea.”
Excursions include a tour of the Pacific Fleet Diving Unit in Colwood and Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre and a biologist-led beach hike.
Mitchell, the “chief cook and bottle washer” of the program promises 21 full days of fun and hard work.
Students will do an independent study project as part of the course including a paper, presentation and final comprehensive exam.
“The kids all say the same thing, they’ve never worked so hard, but they’ve never had so much fun,” Mitchell said. “Kids who think they’re coming for a free vacation should think again, there’s a lot of work involved.”
Register for programs at www.summerprogramssd64.com.