December 9, 2014, Texarkana, Texas | The Texarkana College Fire Academy will honor a group of 17 young men ages 18-28 with its first graduation ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Truman Arnold Student Center Great Room.
The TC Fire Academy is a partnership between the College and the City of Texarkana, Texas, with classroom instruction held on the TC campus and field training at the city’s state-of-the-art fire training facility. Its inaugural class, which graduates Thursday night, began 14 weeks ago.
“We’ll be the first ‘band of brothers’ to graduate from the academy,” said Taylor Griffin, a current student in the program. Griffin said the academy is about two thirds bookwork and one third field training. Over the past 14 weeks, cadets have learned the techniques and tools they need to be successful firemen, along with controlled situational rescues that involve retrieving mannequins while fighting a fire within their training building.
“You have to be selfless,” said Griffin, who planned to become a firefighter since the day fireman visited his elementary school campus. “It was my lifelong dream, and with TC’s program being close to home and having a good price, I knew it was meant to be.”
The academy’s 14-week program can train up to 25 cadets at a time. Students who complete the course and obtain certification are qualified to make rank earlier when they begin working for fire departments.
Griffin’s fellow cadet Cutter West said he comes from a family of firefighters.
“It’s not pride,” he said. “It’s wanting to make a difference. That’s why people choose this career.”
The public is invited to attend Thursday’s graduation ceremony and show support for the first class of graduating cadets.