When the unsuspecting Lake Dallas High School Fire Academy students exited the school on Wednesday afternoon, a mixture of shock and excitement shone on their faces. A fully functional firetruck, donated by the Lake Cities Fire Department, pulled into the LDHS parking lot on the first day of classes.
Going into the program, a lot of students never would have expected such a gift. Previously, the students and advisors would have to rely on the Lake Cities Fire Department for a firetruck to become available for use.
LDHS senior Ben Jackson joined fire academy with the intention of learning more about what it takes to become a firefighter and took the opportunity when it presented itself. Now, he has even more tools at his disposal, thanks to the Lake Cities Fire Department, which is made up of firefighters from Hickory Creek, Shady Shores and Lake Dallas.
The fire academy launched during the 2016-17 school year. LDHS senior Laura Lewis, a second-year and inaugural member of the program, has changed her view of the class since first signing up.
“I expected textbook work when I joined Fire Academy,” Lewis said. “We lecture maybe once a week. The rest of the time we spend hands-on, practicing ladder drills or searches.”
Fire academy adviser John Bryant, who has 11 years of firefighter experience, is associated with the Lake Cities Fire Department and was tasked with starting up the program in 2016. He thought it would open the door for the fire service and the people within the community to help with the new generation of firefighters.
“It provides an opportunity in the community for our children to potentially join a career right out of high school,” Bryant said. “This new addition means so much. It brings on the opportunity to do a lot more training, and the students will gain more pride when using equipment they can call their own.”