Discovery Hall Programs has a knack for getting students hooked on marine science. Many of those students come back year after year for the summer camp program.
This year, Tommie Kennedy made her eighth consecutive summer trip to the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for a dose of marine science education with the Marine Science High School Course.
Marty Dunn, head counselor for summer programs said, “Tommie is part of our summer family. She always has a smile on her face and every year has helped to bring campers together.”
"The experience is better than just going to the beach," Kennedy said.
Each camp offers a new experience, which is what keeps bringing Kennedy back.
Kennedy's first experience at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab was part of the first ever Barrier Island Explorer overnight camp. She loved it so much, she came back the following summer for another year of the same camp.
In all, Kennedy has attended the Barrier Island Explorer camp twice, the Gulf Island Journey camp twice, the Bay Voyager camp twice, and has just completed the more academic Marine Science High School Course. Each camp has put her at the Sea Lab for longer periods of time - Barrier Island Explorer (for 5th, 6th graders) is 3 nights, Gulf Island Journey (for 7th, 8th graders) is 5 nights, Bay Voyager (for high school students) is also 5 nights and the class in marine science for high school students is an entire month.
"You meet friends that last a lifetime, and the educators and counselors are amazing," Kennedy said.
From all those years, Kennedy said one of her most memorable moments came from her second Barrier Island Explorer Camp.
"We went to the beach during my second year and helped to locate sea turtle eggs," Kennedy remembered. "We also had the chance to watch the hatchling turtles go into the ocean."
The senior from AP Brewer High School in Joppa, Alabama is planning to attend the University of South Alabama to study marine biology. Ironically, this would would put her back at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab for her undergraduate studies.