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For 20 high school juniors the start of the school year also may have been the first day of their career. Monday, August 20, was the first day of the school year for students attending the Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Springdale. For twenty students it was also their first official day of reporting to the St. Josephs Fire/EMS Station 806 as a Fire Cadet.
Prince George's County Public Schools (PGCPS) and the Prince George's County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department officially kicked-off the High School Fire Science Cadet Program on the first day of school. The program will involve training for the next generation of firefighters and emergency medical personnel. The Fire Cadet program has been reinstituted after a nearly 2-decade hiatus from the department.
This two-year program will allow students to take fire and emergency medical services classes, while providing 17 college credits to those who successfully complete the curriculum. Additionally, students will graduate from the program with all necessary training to be nationally certified as firefighters and Emergency Medical Technicians.
The High School Fire Science Cadet Program commences with the 2012-2013 school. It is expected that upon entering 12th grade, these 20 students will continue into the second year of the program. Subsequently, an additional twenty 11th graders will enter the program, making a total of forty participants.
During the kick-off ceremony held at the St. Josephs station the common theme coming from the podium was that of “opportunity.” Dr. William Hite, Superintendent of the County Public School System addressed the students saying, “Take advantage of this tremendous opportunity.”
Steven T. Edwards, Director of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, started his career as a fire cadet while attending Suitland High School in 1968. He had a very successful career having retired as the Fire Chief. He told the cadets, “This opportunity does not guarantee you success. It is what you, as an individual, do with this opportunity that will determine your success.”
Prince George’s County Council Chair Andrea C. Harrison, Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, Flowers Principal Gorman Brown, Program Advisory Committee President Darryl Barnes and Schools Career Academy Supervisor Pamela Smith all spoke of the advantages of the Cadet Program and each referenced the “opportunity” that cadets have earned by being accepted into the program.
Charles Flowers High School was selected partly because of its close proximity to the Department’s newest facility, St. Josephs Fire/EMS Station #806. The station, which is adjacent the school, has both a training tower and classroom. Students can walk the 200 or so yards to the station where they will receive instruction in fire and emergency medical services.
Fire Cadets will report to the Fire/EMS station at about 11:30 am each school day and will remain until the end of the regular school day at around 2:00 pm.
You can see the January 2012 announcement of the Fire Cadet program here.