Seventeen students from Waldport and Taft high schools learned coveted skills and gained admiration for area firefighters after attending Future Natural Resource Leaders Fire School last week at Camp Tadmor.
The students participated in classroom lessons, field training and mock skills tests. The event featured public and private wildland firefighters.
“Fire School was by far the best experience I have had in a work environment,” Taft senior Giovanni Salazar said. “The hands-on work showed me what it takes to be a wildland firefighter. It is definitely a career path I will be pursuing.”
The Lincoln County School District offers opportunities as part of its Career and Technical Education programs, which are funded by Measure 98 dollars aimed to get youth trained in vocational trades that build valuable career-ready skills.
“It is important to LCSD to support local industry and community needs when utilizing Measure 98 funds and expanding or enhancing our career and technical programs,” Secondary Teaching and Learning Administrator Majalise Tolan said.
“These students learned, practiced, and were evaluated on skills necessary for high demand jobs that are important to our community and state.
“Our teachers are continuing to work together to provide more opportunities across the district for all of our students.”
Jeff Skirvin, Waldport CTE teacher wrote, “At fire school, kids learn a lot about wildland fire fighting and the science behind fire. But the most amazing thing about fire school is during the three-mile, 45-pound backpack test, the all day wildland fire training where Lincoln County kids placed second in the fire line digging competition, our students showed grit. It was raining, they were up to their knees in mud. They were cold. And they worked hard all day.
“I’ve never been more proud of a group of young students than I was at fire school this year. With all of the negative connotations that are attached to this generation due to their overuse of x-boxes and iPhones and things that I don’t even know about, we watch kids at fire school excel and show good communication skills, perseverance, a sense of empathy and team ambition all day, every day. We truly can be proud of our Lincoln City and Waldport children.”
Waldport sophomore student Savana Eppinghaus said, “It was a great learning experience. It was hard work, but it was lots of fun. I would definitely do it again. Actually, I think everyone who is interested in Forestry should do it at least once. They have it really well organized and everything is together.”