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Scuba won't put you to sleep
Nathan Borowski
Antelope Staff
Photo by Nathan Borowski
Nathan Blaha, a senior organizational communication major from Kearney, takes time to adjust his mask during his PE 210 class. The class is offered during the spring semester.
Info graphic by staff
Info graphic by staff

You’re dead tired and nodding off—usually a good time to sit in the back row and catch a quick nap during a slideshow or notes. But try falling asleep when you spend two hours of class underwater.
Or look at a few different options to make academic life livlier.

UNK’s department of health, physical education, recreation and leisure studies offers a wide variety and interesting classes that the typical student would find some fun and variety: dodgeball, ballroom dance, pilates, ultimate frisbee and scuba diving.

Yes. Scuba diving— Ron Johns, owner and operator of Heartland Scuba, teaches PE 210 Scuba Diving with the assistance of Warren Pennell of Grand Island.  

Throughout the course of the class students learn and master the diving skills necessary to become a certified scuba divers.

Johns, who has been instructing the course at UNK since 1973, says he has been diving for more than 40 years and he still remembers what got him started— giving credit to the television series “Sea Hunt,” from the late 1950s and early 1960s.

“I was never the same again,” said Johns of his first diving experience.

The class meets on Wednesday nights at Cushing Auditorium where they spend two or more hours in the pool sharpening their diving skills. But before students are allowed in the water, they are required to complete online work and an online quiz.

“The online portion isn’t too difficult,” said Nathan Blaha, a senior organizational communications major from Kearney, “It’s just some videos and online text with a few quizzes.”
Blaha, who learned about the class from some friends, says he is enjoying his time diving with Johns. “It is a great class,” Blaha said, “I get to sit under water for two hours. That beats sitting in a classroom.”

Upon completion of the course, students receive a lifetime certification. But in order to achieve this, they have to step out of the pool and into some darker, murky water.

“In order to pass they have to complete four dives over days in a lake.” Johns said. Students are allowed to choose one weekend out of the last three weekends of class.

The lifetime certification serves as an extra perk for Blaha who was looking for a refreshing class to fill his schedule. “It’s nice that I’ll be certified for life,” Blaha said. “Now if I ever go diving when I’m on vacation or something I won’t have to worry about taking any classes or getting certified again.”

Johns will quickly point out that the lifetime certification isn’t the only things he wants students to get out of his class. He hopes students will learn to view diving as a hobby that can provide a wide variety of experiences.

“Diving is exciting because you can get what you want out of it. It can be the most relaxing thing you ever do or it can be exciting,” Johns said.

Johns said diving is an activity anyone will be able to do well into their old age. “We have a customer that just spent his 82nd birthday with us,” Johns said. “It’s a lifelong hobby.”


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