A 12-year-old boy in San Diego County is now one of the world’s youngest Junior Master Scuba Diver, earning the certification on a recent trip to Fiji.
The Winston School in Del Mar hosted a pep rally Tuesday to celebrate student Tennessee Cumming's record-setting achievement, school officials said.
Cumming, who lives with his family in Rancho Santa Fe, officially became a Junior Master Scuba Diver on May 17, when school officials say he completed the required dives for certification by the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) at the Korolevu dive site, a part of Rainbow Reef on the island of Taveuni in Fiji.
While there are plenty of Junior Master Scuba Divers, Cumming completed the certificate at a younger age than any other diver.
He turned 12 during that trip to Fiji.
The young diver is no stranger to challenges. School officials say Cumming has been several developmental disorders, including ADD/ADHD, dyslexia, oppositional defiance disorder, pervasive developmental disorder, as well as a processing disorder.
Despite these hurdles, he found an outlet in his passion for scuba diving.
The boy first took to this hobby through a Bubblemaker introductory diving program that he experienced on a family trip to Bora Bora, according to school officials. At the time, Cumming was only eight-and-a-half years old.
Each time he finished completing several dives on that trip, his parents say the boy would gleefully declare it was the best day of his life. They never heard him say anything like that before.
According to his parents, there was nothing Cumming seemed to enjoy so much before that, except building Legos and playing with his brother.
It isn’t just about collecting certification cards for Cumming.
His so-called "Dive Nanny," Elizabeth “Bethy” Driscoll,” says he is genuinely devoted to the sport of diving and becoming the best that he can be. She says he has repeated courses because “they were fun.”
Diving is an activity that truly brings Cumming joy, which makes his new status as the world's youngest PADI Junior Master Scuba Diver a special dream come true.