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Elementary school on Green Island holds graduation under water

2019/06/15 22:02:04

Photo courtesy of Green Island Township office

Taipei, June 15 (CNA) This year's 12 new graduates of Gungguan Elementary School on Green Island, a volcanic islet off the eastern coast of Taiwan, received their diplomas in an unusual underwater graduation ceremony Saturday.

The 12 youngsters, who earned their junior diving certificate before graduating, dove into the water accompanied by their diving coach in the Shilang Diving Area, the most famous diving site on Green Island, to get their diplomas from the school's principal, Kao Chih-hsiang (高志翔).

Photo courtesy of Green Island Township office

They also visited the world's deepest underwater postbox, a 1.8-meter tall structure shaped in the form of a white seahorse that is installed at a depth of 11 meters in the area.

According to Green Island Township chief Hsieh Hsien-yu (謝賢裕), who witnessed the ceremony, some of the graduates described the ceremony as an experience of a lifetime and something they will never forget.

Photo courtesy of Green Island Township office

Given the unique marine environment surrounding Green Island, children learn how to swim there starting in kindergarten, students in lower grades take snorkeling classes, and children in higher grades learn how to maneuver a canoe and dive, Kao said.

Before graduating, Kao said, students will get junior diver certificates, an internationally recognized certification for divers aged 10-14.

Located 33 kilometers off the coast of eastern Taiwan's Taitung County, Green Island has a population of 4,066 and is surrounded by coral in almost every direction.

(By Tyson Lu and Chung Yu-chen)