The sophomore First aid training by Monica M.

In the sophomore diving class we are currently working on first aid. To get a true feeling about how a real emergency situation would work we get to act out scenarios and have classmates respond to our situation. This is great because I know that I learn from a more visual experience. Not only was it interesting to see how the other students would react but it was also very entertaining. I was told ahead of time that I would be acting out a scene where I collapse onto a carpet. The only thing the students knew when walking into class was that I was going to become a victim. When everyone was seated I collapsed onto the carpet and remained silent. Many students thought I actually collapsed but soon understood when two other students came in to assess the scene. From this scene we learned that it is important to manage your time well and make the best use of your time.

We also learned how to log roll someone into a recovery position if we have detected a pulse but they are unresponsive or feeling I’ll. We all got to demonstrate what we learned in the center of the class which was very intimidating but reasonable because in a real situation we should be prepared to do it anywhere with anyone one around. We are still training to become first aid providers but I can tell that this is a very useful course that anyone can benefit from.

Axel’s first Full Face Mask Dive.

For almost a month, my class has taken a very exciting new step in our diving education: we have initiated our training in full face masks! This unit has provided us with a proper introduction to the necessary skills and discipline for safe and effective use of full face mask, and we continue to practice and hone our skills.

Believe it or not, we kicked the unit off with a test! It was a test of each individual’s ability to read and follow directions. There was a hidden trick in it, and the majority of the class failed the test! The moral of the experience, as Lenny would later explain to us, proud of himself, was that the importance of carefully and thoroughly observing and following directions in this stage of our training could not be emphasized enough. As always, the majority of what Lenny and Zoe do always has a valuable lesson behind it.

We then got the opportunity to physically interact with and observe the full face masks in addition to watching instructional videos and (carefully) reading the user’s manual. We were taught to identify the numerous different parts of the mask, followed by how to properly don the mask and breathe from it. Then came the most exciting part: the pool!

In our briefing, we were given the layout of our expected accomplishments for the session. We would first station ourselves in the shallow end of the pool and submerge our heads with the masks in order to experience the unique sensation of a new field of vision and a new freedom of breathing (through the nose!!!). Next, we would transition to the deep end for equalization practice in the new mask. Finally, we would conclude with a move back to the shallow end for practice in removing the mask underwater and putting it back on. I was slightly intimidated at the initial thought of it, but I was ready nonetheless!

I was immediately overjoyed and welcoming to the experience from my first breath. The excitement was overwhelming. Though it was very hard for others to hear me, I could actually talk and breathe underwater at the same time! This was the closest I had ever come to being Aquaman.

We then moved to the deep end of the pool and descended, accustoming ourselves to proper equalization in the mask. This was not much trouble for me, for I do not equalize by pinching my nose, but by yawning. Therefore, the new mask made for no increase in the difficulty I had in equalizing.

It then came time for the final skill of the day: mask removal and refastening. My group and I gathered around in a circle and observed a demonstration performed by Zoe. Then, one at a time, Zoe observed the attempt of each group member, sitting right in front of them and ready to take prompt action in the case of a mishap. After watching some of my peers complete the skill, it was my turn. My heart began to gradually speed up. I was able to remove my mask without any trouble, for Zoe had showed us a convenient trick beforehand. I proceeded to breathe from my alternate second stage and fasten my spare mask to my head. I took all the time I needed to assure that every strap on the mask had been loosened entirely before removing my spare mask and sliding my head into the spider strap of the full face mask, only putting the mask itself on halfway. I waited, took one last deep breath from my regulator, and took it out, pulling my mask down over my face as quickly as I could and purging the mask’s regulator. When I took my first breath in, I was horrified to find that water remained in the oral nasal pocket and I inhaled water! I started to panic as my eyes widened and looked to the surface, and I debated standing up and surfacing. But I refused to and I persevered, forcefully exhaling and purging two or three more times before my mask was entirely cleared. I gave the “Ok” to Zoe and received the high-five of approval.

Overall, I had a positive first experience with the full face mask. I was able to grow comfortable in using it as well as take notes of and learn from my mistakes. I am eager to learn more and continue my training!

Deanna’s Salvage Job

My name is Deanna Souchet-Soto. I am a junior adventure diver in the program. Us juniors are currently working on receiving our Scientific Diver certifications. A part of our scientific diving certification requires us to learn a bit about salvage work underwater. This Tuesday, all the junior divers made our way to Bushwick High School for our first pool session in a long time. My group with fellow Junior advanced open water divers, Quincy, Danny, and Axel were specifically assigned to bringing and retrieving the lifeguard chair (that was thrown into the pool by Lenny, our instructor) to the surface. This required perfect buoyancy, knot-tying, and a calm thought process. My group came up with a plan on the surface, then edited it according to everyone’s opinion on the surface and lastly we went down to get a first look to see where in our plan needed change. It was a long process and needed to be continuously fixed. After looking at the chair in its place a couple times, we put our plan into motion. We had a failed attempt at using the lift bags to lift the chair out of the water the first time. Then the second we decided to use ALL the tools provided for us and tightened all of our “knots”. At one point, I got frustrated with trying my attempt at a bowline. Quincy, not even being my buddy, came in and took the rope from my hands, gave me hand signals to take a breath and reassess what was in front of me. I was able to tie the final knot. Both Quincy and I, with our buddies keeping watch, filled the lift bags and watched as our not so beautiful tough salvage job become a success. It was a great pool dive and an awesome first dive back for me. Speaking for my teammates, I think I can also say that for them. Below is a picture taken right after we all came to surface with the chair!

Monica M.’s Bahamas trip

As a student in Professional Diving at the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School you get offered many life changing opportunities that can really benefit you. Recently we were given the opportunity to go diving on the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. On this trip we got to develop new skills and continue to work on skills we already knew. We were not allowed to use our phones for the week we were on the trip. This was a challenge at first but on the second day we all grew to talk and learn more about each other. During our dives we worked on navigating in shallow waters. This wasn’t easy as it sounds since the bottom was filled with jellyfish. Buoyancy was key during this dive. We got to dive up to 80 feet deep which was very interesting because we started to notice that simple colors like red changed to dark brown. Most of our dives took place off of a dive boat which was surprisingly fun. As a class we got to experience a night dive which was scary at first but changed to be a breathtaking thrill. Personally my favorite part of this trip was the drift dive where we got to sit back and relax as the current pushed us effortlessly while enjoying the wildlife. Not only did we get to dive but we also got to meet with locals and learn how a low waste environment works. We learned more about the wildlife and the culture of the island. Overall this was an amazing trip and I am so glad that I was able to experience it with my classmates. I feel that I learned so much on this trip and I know that it will really benefit it as a diver.

The Giant Stride Fundraising Event!

Buy Tickets/Donate Here!

The Harbor School Diving students are putting together a fundraiser with several fun activities for the whole family. There will be opportunities to paint oysters, decorate cupcakes, race while blindfolded to do the pipe project, and many more fun games. Food will be provided from Cowgirl Seahorse, Paris Cafe, and Mark Joseph Steakhouse and delicious oysters from Fishers Island Oyster Farm, so come hungry!

A slideshow and pictures throughout the room will display the daily life of Harbor School Students and show the incredible dive sites we’ve been able to explore. With students organizing this fundraiser and running all the activities, there will be plenty of divers to talk to about the Professional Diving CTE program. The money raised from this event will go to much needed gear, trips to places like Dutch Springs and the Bahamas where divers get their certifications, and supporting the students at the New York Harbor School to pay for expenses they can’t afford.

Come show your love and support for the incredible students exploring unique career paths. This amazing event will be held at Melville Gallery at the Seaport Museum from 4:30-7:30 on February 13. The address is 213 Water St, New York, NY 10038. There’s a suggested donation of $30. Big thank you to the South Street Seaport for hosting us!

Thank you from the fundraising committee: Crismaris P., Hannah F., and Joanna A.

The Aquarium Experience by Jackson R.

Diving at the New York Aquarium is one of the most wonderful, lucky experiences we at the Harbor School get the opportunity to participate in. In the form of words it may seem boring, as your cleaning the tanks, but it is actually a soothing, relaxing, sort of adventure. The tank we dive as students is called Glover’s Reef. Filled with tropical fish, from Cow-nose rays, to mean Angelfish, you feel like your in the Caribbean.


On Monday the fourteenth, my dive buddy, Korey and I were the first ones in the water. I was a bit under weighted so you can assume it was a lot of freaking out and paddling to keep myself underwater in order to complete the dive. However when we first went down I felt a tap on my shoulder. Korey looks at me and points straight towards my feet. In between is this massive, green Moray Eel. Now when you think of Eels, you think slimy, gross, mean, etc. However this one is quite the opposite. It was as if a cat had crawled in between my legs and was sitting there just smiling up at me. It just started hanging around Korey and I and was one of the coolest things I have seen in the diving program. Never before had a fish come to me just to basically cuddle my leg. Although in the end one of the other groups scared it away a bit and it flew off into the darkness.

Dive Physics for Juniors By Axel A.

img_2576For the past month and a half, our junior diving class has been in a physics unit. Each table would compose an individual research group, and would be assigned a specific physics law that is applicable to what we do in the water, such as the Archimedes displacement principle and the Gas Laws of Gay-Lussac, Charles, and Avogadro.

Our task: research our given law and present it to the rest of the class. However, this is where things got interesting. One of the many things I have come to love so dearly about this class is the preparation for our lives after high school that Lenny and Zoe provide for us by introducing us to skills of great importance in our futures, and assisting us in the mastery of such skills. Therefore, this unit was not solely a research project; it was also a lengthy, thorough lesson on presentation skills. Each time a group would present, the rest of the class were given feedback sheets to fill out, evaluating the presenters’ performances.

We were scrutinized both as groups and as individuals. At the end of every presentation, there was a designated period of time for feedback. The body language, confidence, organization, and projection of the presenters was discussed while the structure, content, and capability to be understood of the presentation itself was looked at.

The presenters took note of the feedback they had been given, making sure to apply what they had been told to their next attempted presentation. Lenny gave us these trial runs in an effort to help us in fine-tuning our presentations to their greatest capacities. When our peers had finished sharing their comments, Lenny had the final say. He would often “tear a presentation to shreds”, but there was not a single instance in which his feedback was not constructive and could not be instantly utilized to drastically improve the overall quality of the presentation he had reviewed.

I have come away from this unit with not only a more developed understanding of the laws we had studied, but also of how to effectively construct and execute a presentation to an audience lacking knowledge of the topic.