Science teacher at BOCES shares passion for SCUBA diving with law enforcement class

Posted 3 May 2018 at 10:09 am

Press Release, Orleans-Niagara BOCES

Provided photo: Science teacher Peter Jablonski is shown with student Shyreef Payne, who tries on the SCUBA gear.

MEDINA – Science teacher Peter Jablonski says trying to teach science to all the different career and technical classes at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center can be a challenge as each teacher is an expert in their particular trade.

“I try to keep lessons interesting and capture the attention of students,” he said. “As an undergrad at Canisius College there are mandatory credit hours required for physical education so I picked SCUBA diving as it was worth two credit hours instead of one. It was physically demanding and I had to overcome my fear of water. I knew how to swim just fine, but I didn’t like to do it underwater.”

His love of his SCUBA translated into a great lesson for some of the classes. Mr. Jablonski said he had to learn a lot of science for SCUBA, such as how to use Navy dive charts to see how long a person could stay underwater at different depths, Boyle’s Gas Laws, physiological diseases such as embolisms, bends and nitrogen narcosis or rapture of the deep.  Also the physics of how light and sound travels underwater had to be thoroughly comprehended.

“I made a science lesson out of this experience and teach about underwater welding to the Welding class or underwater recovery to Security and Law classes,” Jablonski said. “SCUBA diving in extreme depths, fast water, and poor visibility is dangerous work therefore workers are highly compensated. During my lesson the students certainly had a good laugh watching as one of their classmates donned a wet suit and tried to walk around with an air tank on their back and a weight belt around their waist.”

He added, “SCUBA is the hardest part of Navy SEAL training and many a candidate fails that part.  Knowing that many of the Security and Law Enforcement students will never even try SCUBA, I try to include practical law enforcement skills like rescuing a drowning victim.”

He shared the slogan “REACH-THROW-ROW-GO” that was instilled in him as a Boy Scout and what he teaches as a guide to Boy Scouts on high adventure canoe trips in Algonquin Provincial Park in northern Ontario.

“I discussed with the students the incredible strength of moving water, how to perform ice rescues and how extreme cold water can cause death by Sudden Cold Water Immersion,” he said.

Orleans/Niagara BOCES District Superintendent, Dr. Clark Godshall, added to the lesson when he dropped by Dudley Gilbert’s Security and Law Enforcement class while the student was donning the wet suit.

“Does anyone know when you have to wear a dry suit?” he asked the students.  “If the air temperature and water temperature adds up to less than 120 degrees.”

Mr. Jablonski said he was pleased on how his lesson went.  “If I can help one of them to save someone else’s life that is a great accomplishment.”

Return to top