Cindy Ross was an unlikely person to found a scuba-diving school. Told by a commercial diving instructor at 19 that she was too small to scuba, Ross didn?t begin to explore the sport until she was in her 30s. Earning certification was a trial, and she spent her first four dives lugging 80-pound gear in the snow up and down a massive hill?and, adding insult to injury, the men?s equipment didn?t even fit properly. But the fifth dive changed everything. Held in Puget Sound, Ross felt a calling to the location's green waters and white anemones, and since then, the aquanaut has frolicked with such neighbors as a 1,200-pound sea lion, hundreds of Canadian seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.
At Scuba Shoppe, Ross and her team of instructors immerse guests of all ages in the sport of scuba. Try Scuba classes held in the center's 84-degree pool familiarize students with their equipment before they plunge into the water to practice. Alternatively, an open-water certification program from Scuba Schools International expounds on these pool sessions with shore dives in the rolling waters of Puget Sound, which let students hone their skills in a more realistic environment or find a dolphin pod to adopt them. As part of this training, they also have the chance to explore the briny depths aboard underwater scooters. For the more advanced,, Scuba Shoppe provides training for specialty certifications, including rescue diving, night diving, and underwater digital photography. An onsite dive shop outfits customers with all the necessary dive gear and accessories.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous centers understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of a skills assessment using diagnostic tools and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from pre-kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. Camps and after-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.
New York-native John Cassese's motto is, "If you can walk, you can dance." The celebrity dance instructor and choreographer's own quick-stepping career began at the tender age of 10, jumpstarting a passion that would eventually take him careening across the stages of off-Broadway productions, nightclubs, dance competitions, and the occasional monster-truck rally. It wasn't until he relocated to Los Angeles that an agent dubbed him "The Dance Doctor," and soon after, he found his fleet-footed prowess and teaching abilities in high demand amongst production studios such as Sony, Paramount, and 20th Century Fox.
Between choreographing a Charleston dance sequence on AMC's Mad Men and singing at the 50th birthday parties of Billy Crystal and Wolfgang Puck, John leads a team of instructors as they teach celebs and everyday Tinseltowners the finer points of styles ranging from ballet to hip-hop. Despite all the fanfare, his biggest praise comes from his work with soon-to-be-married couples, who seek his advice on everything from basic steps and song selection, to the length of the post-cake-cutting conga line.
From the outside, the nonprofit, 100% volunteer-run Kids Cooking Corner has the whimsical appearance of a fairy-tale cottage, its white siding accented by baby-blue paint and surrounded by fresh flowers and topiaries. The interior of the century-old house is equally exciting to youngsters, though not because of a prince or fairy godmother willing to do all of the heavy lifting. Children work hard at The Kids Cooking Corner, but the work is disguised in fun and rewarded with tasty snacks. Instructors warmly welcome foster children and children with special needs into their classrooms.
Helmed by chef, health enthusiast, and mother of three Heidi O'Connor, the volunteers at The Kids Cooking Corner strive to educate whippersnappers on nutrition, food safety, and food prep, often helping picky eaters try new foods along the way. Instructors incorporate math, science, and reading into curricula, teaching real-world applications for kids' school-sourced skills. Children definitely get their hands dirty, however: in spring and summer, they spend time in The Kids Cooking Corner garden, getting firsthand experience working with ingredients from seed to plate. Brightly painted walls, a playful party room, and a fully stocked kitchen provide a safe, exciting environment for kids to get crafty with edibles during each class, as well as during summer camps, parties, and peaceful games of food baseball.
Flung from the concert stage by the drummer of T-Rex, a single drumstick caught by eighth grader Donn Bennett began a lifelong passion for collecting rare and celebrity drum sets. He began selling and trading equipment from his home, and eventually his constantly expanding collection prompted him to open his own shop in 1977. Today, as recorded by King 5 Magazine, more than 50 signed snares hang from the store's ceiling above a show room circled by 15 sets previously used by drummers from bands such as Green Day, Aerosmith, Kansas, and Cheap Trick. Snares played by The Who's Keith Moon and Kiss' Peter Criss, a signed drumhead by The Beatles' Ringo Starr, and feline whiskers fashioned into drumsticks by Josie and the Pussycats round out Donn's extensive exhibit.
Along with the displayed celeb drums, Donn dispenses new and used drum gear to customers along with vintage snare parts and major-brand replacement parts for sets in need of repair. Stocked with two professional drum sets and a Roland electronic drum tutor, soundproof learning rooms shelter pupils and instructors during private 30- or 60-minute lessons for all skill levels. Along with annual rock camps and clinics, Donn's staff leads specialized classes in diverse drumming topics such as mastering the techniques of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and the cymbal-smacking techniques of Animal from the Muppets.
Claiming certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration, Regal Air's instructors have trained aspiring pilots for more than 25 years. Located at Paine Field, the flight school's team adheres to FAA-approved syllabuses, helping students obtain certifications to fly vessels such as private planes and multiengine aircrafts. Training ranges from supervised, hands-on instruction in the air to simulated instruction on the ground in a Garmin 430 DomeAir flight simulator.
Beyond the flight school, Regal Air's operations span a rental fleet of Cessna and Piper planes that let experienced pilots easily reach their castles in the sky. A service team caters to aircraft owners, maintaining planes in accordance with FAA standards.