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Lasalle students sleep with the sharks

By: Sudbury Northern Life Staff

 | Jan 16, 2014 - 11:25 AM |
Lasalle teacher Ivan Conrad gets an up-close look at a shark at the new Ripley’s Aquarium near the CN Tower in Toronto. Supplied photo.

Lasalle teacher Ivan Conrad gets an up-close look at a shark at the new Ripley’s Aquarium near the CN Tower in Toronto. Supplied photo.

Believe it or not, students from Lasalle Secondary School’s Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) in Energy slept with the sharks Jan. 9.

They had the distinction of being the first public group to spend the night in the Shark Tunnel at the new Ripley’s Aquarium near the CN Tower in Toronto.

“All forms of fish were literally swimming around us, including sharks,” said teacher Liane Esau, who leads the SHSM in Energy program at Lasalle Secondary School.

“It was an eerie and mesmerizing experience. To be the first is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is my favourite field trip in more than 14 years of teaching and I have been on many field trips.”

The underwater tunnel is part of the dangerous lagoon that features different species of sharks, including Sand Tiger, Sandbar and Reef Sharks. The aquarium also houses saw-wielding sawfish, barracudas, moray eels, spadefish, tarpon and green sea turtles.

"The feeling of being surrounded by massive sharks while I slept was really frightening,” said Keagan LeBreton. “I loved every second of it.”

"It was an amazing experience that I really enjoyed,” said Erica Younger. “My favourite part was sleeping in the tunnel, surrounded by sharks and other amazing creatures. It was definitely something I would do again if given the chance.”

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada is a world-class aquatic life facility, the first of its kind in Ontario, whose mission is to foster environmental education, conservation and research, while simultaneously providing entertainment for visitors of all ages.

“In addition to learning about the diversity of the species and participating in a scavenger hunt, students learned about the different careers involved in the building, maintaining and running of an aquarium,” said Esau.

“They also visited the CN Tower, which provided a study in contrasts. What an amazing experience.”

Students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Majors in Rainbow Schools participate in a number of reach-ahead activities.

The programs are a bundle of eight to 10 courses in selected fields. Rainbow District School Board offers SHSM programs in nine sectors - Arts and Culture, Business, Construction, Energy, Environment, Health and Wellness, Information and Communications Technology, Manufacturing, and Mining.

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