Students swim with sharks at coast aquarium

Students swim with sharks at coast aquarium

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by Tim Gordon, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on October 24, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 25 at 9:55 AM

NEWPORT, Ore. – A group of high school students from Portland got an up-close look at sea life, and some even swam with dozens of sharks. It was all part of a special snorkeling and scuba diving field trip to the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

The students from Thomas Edison High School have learning differences because of challenges like Dyslexia and ADHD. The enormous salt water pools of the Passages of the Deep exhibit were their classrooms today.

“Any time you can give kids that already come to the school with maybe a little less self esteem a confidence builder like this it’s huge,” said Kelley Steck.

Steck’s son Elliott is one of four Juniors who founded the schools scuba diving club and dove with the sharks Thursday. All four are certified divers.

“We’re just gonna be down on the side of the pool, just hanging out there with the divers here,” said Elliott.

And they did. For more than a half hour, each boy got to dive with sharks just inches away.

“It’s an up close and personal experience with some creatures that are out there in the ocean. Those kids are up with a lot of animals that are right along our coast,” said Stuart Clausen, Senior Aquarist at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Fifteen students got in the water, the four divers, and 11 others snorkeling in the Halibut Flats pool. The students raised money for a shark conservation group by taking pledges for their seal life swims.

The field trip made lifelong memories, that you can experience, too. The Oregon Coast Aquarium offers both guest snorkel and dive opportunities to the public, at the Passages of the Deep exhibit.

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