Diana Adams Overcomes Physical Challenges To Earn Scuba Certification During Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month
By Emily Saunders // March 26, 2021
Overcoming challenges has always been a motivator for Diana Adams
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Diana Adams, a 27-year-old former teacher in Brevard County, is overcoming obstacles and proving that physical disabilities don’t have to be barriers to enjoy the amazing underwater environment we have in our community.
Adams recently completed her PADI Open Water Scuba Diver Certification at Hatts’ Diving Headquarters in Melbourne, Florida. There, she and the instructors worked to ensure her cerebral palsy, a disorder that affects her balance, mobility and strength wouldn’t keep her from mastering the skills needed for scuba diving.
Initially, Adams never thought that scuba diving would be an activity she could participate in, as her legs have significant weakness, and she’s undergone 14 surgeries for her condition.
However, overcoming challenges has always been a motivator for her, so when a friend encouraged her to apply for a Women Divers Hall of Fame scholarship, she knew she had to give it a try.
In 2020, the organization gave 20 scholarships to women around the world who were interested in scuba diving, and Adams was one of the recipients.
The scholarship allowed her to enroll in the Open Water course and covered all costs, including the necessary dive gear given through the local diving center.
Beginning in a pool to learn basic skills, Adams and the other students progressed to a lake before completing the last dives required for their certification in the ocean.
After her experience, Adams wants to encourage others who may have physical challenges to try scuba diving.
“Earning this certification has been the toughest physical challenge I’ve ever experienced and being able to do so with a body that has its own difficulties made it even more meaningful,” she says.
“Even if you think you can’t do it, you may surprise yourself at what you can accomplish if you take it one day at a time and give yourself the grace to fail before you succeed.”
Adams shared the same message with her students during her seven years as a teacher and is happy to be able to live out her advice through this experience, especially during the month of March, which is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month.
Hatts’ Diving Headquarters has been a family-owned business since its start in 1954. They were able to work with Adams to accommodate her disability by assisting her in moving equipment when out of the water and providing webbed gloves to help with swimming — all while keeping high standards of mastery and safety for scuba certification.
“Here at Hatts’, we believe diving is not just a sport by a way of life. We have made it our mission to open the door for underwater adventures to anyone who comes through our doors,” says Michael Hatt, President of Hatts’ Diving Headquarters.
For those wondering if diving is right for them, Hatts’ is available to help guide students through any concerns and has beginner classes to teach the basics before committing to further certification.
Decorated Educator, Philanthropist
Adams has been in town for only five years, yet the 27-year-old has already earned several awards, been selected as an Executive Director and even met the love of her life.
After her initial year teaching in Brevard, the Pennsylvania native was voted the Freedom 7 Elementary School Teacher of the Year. Her third year, she earned a Zimmerman Excellence in Leadership Award from the school.
She topped that in her fourth year by being selected Brevard’s Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year, going on to earn Florida’s Dr. Theron Trimble Elementary Social Studies Teacher of the Year honors that same year.
Despite all the effort, she must have given to her teaching, Adams still found time to volunteer, particularly through digital marketing agency Rock Paper Simple, the company that husband Joshua founded and where Diana serves as Community Engagement Coordinator.
Her efforts have aided the Children’s Hunger Project, which feeds kids at risk of going hungry during the weekends, plus New Life Mission, formerly Brevard Rescue Mission.
National Veterans Homeless Support, a local group that helps homeless vets, and Candlelighters of Brevard, which helps families impacted by childhood cancer, are also beneficiaries of Diana’s volunteer efforts.
On the board of Field of Dreams, a charity near and dear to her heart, she is also active with the Lions Club and Keep Brevard Beautiful. Diana is eager to get going as part of Lead Brevard’s Class of 2021.