CLEARWATER, Fla. – Deer Park Jr./Sr. High School student Carson DiNardo did not have your average summer. While other students were relaxing by the pool or going to baseball games, the 8th grader may have been on a fan boat traveling through the Everglades. He may have been out on the ocean studying dolphins or searching for sand dollars.
This summer, Carson attended the Clearwater Marine Academy, where he completed a 15-hour Marine Academy Program, leaning about oceanic wildlife and vegetation. He also spent three days in Seminole Territory on the Everglades, studying alligator habitats and the python threat to the area.
“The alligators were the coolest part of that,” Carson said. “They were really big. I learned that they are yellow when they’re born, and then turn to the darker colors we see them at when they’re bigger. We even saw a few of the small yellow alligators.
The Marine Biology course consisted of half day classroom sessions, as well as half day ocean and aquarium labs.
“I really liked going out on the boats,” he said. “We would go out into the water and search for sand dollars or wildlife and learn all about the habitats. It was really cool.”
Carson did not just study science and wildlife over the summer. He also completed 45 IXL lessons during his break. IXL is an online program which allows students to practice fluency and procedures in math in an immersive and adaptive program.
Though he has plenty of years to figure it out, Carson said this summer definitely had an influence on his future plans.
“I want to study marine biology, or something like that,” he said.
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