November 13, 2018 what? The scholars slowly shuffle their feet one by one and climb aboard the bus for the drive back to Ft. Lauderdale. The excitement has subsided to more of a jubilant melancholy that simultaneously combines the incredible memories from the last days and weeks with the heart-wrenching reality that the experience has come to an end and life will soon return to the normal pre-series grind.Season 1, A Rising Tide.

My eyes connect with Klara and we exchange volumes without speaking. There's no way we can end like this. As the bus slowly pulls out of the Holiday Inn parking lot, I turn around in my seat and face the scholars. Without hesitation, I ask directly, "Would you guys be interested in a year-two program?" In unison, as if they'd been rehearsing this exact moment all their lives, they give an emphatic and resounding, "Yes!!"

That settles it. We need to provide an opportunity for these kids to continue their journey.

On the flight home, Cathy and I begin sketching out details of what a second year would look like. With the students now certified, a multitude of doors open. We could do coral restoration in St. Croix or laser photogrammetry in Costa Rica. What about marine mammal research in the Channel Islands? The students' elation is contagious; Cathy and I are giddy planning the next adventure.

As we touch down back in CO, it dawns on me that we can't have one without the other; if we put together a year-two program, we would almost certainly have to continue with a new round of open water divers. That means a whole new round of scholars. That means Season 2!!

With the fall semester now underway, it's time to spread the word. The contest is live and we are now taking submissions through the end of November. Our sponsors, namely Mares, SSI, and DAN, helped tremendously in Season 1, together providing all the equipment, training, and dive insurance for the A Rising Tide scholars. As Season 2 begins to take shape, we hope there will be continued support for these incredible opportunities for under-represented Colorado students and that one day this will turn into an undeniably successful national program...

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