The Fire Science Academy of Manatee Technical College graduated the dual-enrolled firefighter class number 6 at 10 a.m. on Saturday, August 13, 2016, at MTC’s Main Campus. The students took Fire Fighter I at MTC as dual-enrolled high school students in the spring semester and Fire Fighter II as adult students during the summer after they graduated from high school.
The Manatee County Honor Guard, complete with bagpipes, led the processional of the eight graduates: Mateo Bedoya, Brandon Bergman, Mackenzie Bryan, Ryan Chastain, Noah Huffman, William Lehman, Alex Pestka, and Logan Savitsky.
Mateo Bedoya won the Highest Academic Achievement award. The Physical Agility award went to Alex Pestka. Noah Huffman won the Practical Skills award.
The graduates will take their state certification exam on August 17. “After these students pass the state exam and go on to get their EMT certification, they can expect to make $30,000 to $40,000 a year to start,” academy coordinator Chief Henry Sheffield told the audience of family and friends.
Mackenzie Bryan, the only female in the class, said, “I had planned on becoming a Coast Guard; I needed an elective and decided to dual enroll in the firefighter program at MTC—it turned out I loved it!” After taking her state exam, she plans to complete EMT and Paramedic to seek employment as a fire-medic.
Adult, Career, and Technical Education executive director Doug Wagner and new East Campus assistant director Jeannette Eddy gave the welcome.
In closing remarks, both new MTC director Dr. Valerie Viands and Manatee District School Board member David Miner saluted the students for entering such an honorable profession.