Slipping into wetsuits and jumping into the pool may not be the typical way to start a high school class, but for Hayden High School teacher Dean Massey's students, scuba diving is just what they expected.
"It's the reason I joined the class," junior Kolton Miller said Sunday.
The Natural Resource Science class was created by Massey two years ago to give students an option other than college-level science. Students complete a project each quarter of the school year, and they can prove useful once a student graduates. One course grad went on to become an underwater welder with the experience he gained, and a current student plans to do the same.
"Prior to that, we didn't have many options. We didn't have a place for kids who wanted to look for more science but didn't want to go to college courses," Massey said. "The whole concept is to get out and see the science behind everything else."
For their final lesson this year, the students will take two classroom sessions and two pool sessions with Bottom Time Divers dive masters Rodney Herman and shop owner Chip Beebee.
The instructors will bring the students almost all the way through scuba certification, with just open-water dives remaining after the end of the school year. Those final dives can be completed with one of the shop's trips to Utah.
At the first pool session at Old Town Hot Springs on Sunday, junior Koleman Williams said the lessons learned in Massey's class apply as they strap on their air tanks.
"All the stuff he's teaching us with depth and pressure apply," Williams said. "We can decide what we prefer and where we're heading in life."
Williams said he already is a certified welder and plans to eventually earn an underwater welding certificate.
Fellow junior Kyle Barrett said the scuba lessons, as well as the other lessons in Massey's class, give students a variety of options.
"It's a big door to open up whatever we want to do," Barrett said.