ESHAS: Mason Lipford

Every two weeks, the Patriot will randomly pick a student from the directory, find out more about his or her life, and prove that every student has a story.


A six-foot stingray is the only thing he can see in the murky water. Kicking as fast as he can, he attempts to keep up with the large beast, but he soon realizes he has been separated from his group and darts for the surface.

Not only was this the first time sophomore Mason Lipford went scuba diving,  he also got lost in the process.

“I wanted to get my scuba certification because my dad was planning a trip to the Florida Keys,” Lipford said.

The certification process took him the entire summer. There were chapter reviews from the information packet which were graded, two practice dives had to be completed, and he was  given a final test at the end that he had to pass.

“It was a lot more work than I thought it would be,” Lipford said.

After Lipford received his certification, his first real dive took place in the Florida Keys. “Each dive you go down about 40 feet,” Lipford said. The weather conditions did not look good for Lipford’s first dive.

“The current was too strong and the weather wasn’t cooperating, but we dove anyway,” Lipford said.

Luckily, during the certification process, Lipford learned that if at any time a diver loses the group they should resurface, look for the boat, and swim towards it. That is exactly what happened during his first dive.

“Our dive leader told us to pair up but my partner went one way while I went the other,” Lipford said. “Before I knew it I had lost my entire group.”

Lipford could barely see anything in front of him because of the murky water. As soon as two stingrays grazed by him, he decided to follow them. Lipford chose to follow the larger one, naturally.

“Swimming with the stingray was so exhilarating,” Lipford said. He finally found his group after he resurfaced. “We all laugh about it even to this day.”

Although his first dive may have gotten off course, Lipford says he wants to continue scuba diving and even plans on going again next summer.

According to Lipford, “scuba diving is pretty incredible, especially being able to see underwater plants and animals. I would love to continue it.”

Hanna LeBuhn is a Lifestyles Editor for The Patriot and

Mason Lipeford