TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Several new graduates of Kenting Elementary School in Pingtung County received their diplomas in an unusual underwater graduation ceremony on Wednesday (May 5) that featured marine animals instead of guest speakers.
The five boys and five girls, who only began learning to dive last semester, dove into the water at Houbihu Marina Wednesday morning to accept their diplomas from the teachers. Their diving gear was lent to them by Taiwan Dive Center, a Pingtung-based company that offers underwater tours free of charge.
While underwater, the students displayed laminated paper signs showing appreciation for their mothers to celebrate the upcoming Mother’s Day. Parents who attended the ceremony cheered enthusiastically for their young ones.
Principal Chen Ming-huei (陳明輝) said this was the school's second underwater graduation ceremony and that he intends to keep the tradition going. Although five of the 15 graduates were unable to participate due to incomplete training, they cheered for their classmates onshore, he said.
Chen said 11 of the school's 24 faculty members had also earned their diving certificates so they could present the diplomas to their students in the water. He also pointed out that the school has been developing a maritime theme and offering classes on marine conservation.
Meanwhile, Taiwan Dive Center founder Dylan Chen (陳琦恩) expressed hope that the ceremony would help raise awareness of maritime sustainability. He encouraged more local schools to contact the company to arrange such an event and give students the experience of a lifetime.
Graduates and faculty of Kenting Elementary School. (Taiwan Dive Center photo)
Graduates holding up signs showing gratitude for their mothers. (Taiwan Dive Center photo)
Fish spotted during underwater graduation ceremony. (Kenting Elementary School photo)