The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 21, 2013

A-Tech students putting their skills to the test

Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus Early Childhood Education and Culinary Arts students have been gearing up for FCCLA events this spring! FCCLA stands for Family, Career and Community Leaders of America. The mission of FCCLA is to promote personal growth and leadership development. It is a dynamic and effective national student organization that helps young men and women become leaders and address important personal, family, work and social issues. It is the only career and technical student organization with family and consumer science as its central focus.

Participation in national programs and chapter activities helps members become strong leaders in their families, careers and communities. Any student who has taken a course in family and consumer sciences, middle school through grade 12, is eligible for active membership in an organized chapter within their school. The regional competitions for both ECE and Culinary Arts will be held in March when students from local middle and high schools will compete to make it to the state competitions in Columbus. Only the top few will continue on to the national competition which is held in different locations every year.

Several other career technical fields at A-Tech are also gearing up to compete against regional and state-wide competitors through SkillsUSA. SkillsUSA is a national organization serving high school and college technical students in which they compete in specialized fields. Similar to the FCCLA competitions, SkillsUSA competitors have different levels in which they may advance if they win local, regional and state competitions. Strong finishes could even land local students in the national finals, this year located in Kansas City, Mo. Good luck to all of our competitors!

Students were also out in the community applying the skills they have learned this year. On Feb. 6, the Ashtabula County Technical and Career Campus Public Safety Academy II wrapped up the firefighting class with a “live burn.” The class took a field trip to the training tower on Austin Road in Geneva for some practical training. As the firefighter level 240 program is coming to an end, this was one of the many objectives that needed to be met before students participated in the Ohio State Firefighter test on Feb. 15.

“The live burn tied everything that the students have learned this year together,” said Van Robison, Public Safety Academy instructor. “The students were able to see the effects of fire, including thermal layering, smoke and gas layers, and feel the 1,200 degree temperatures that firefighters must deal with in an emergency situation. When you’re going into a fire, for the most part it is a controlled environment; the students know how fire typically behaves and armed with the knowledge they have been given, they know what to expect. It is not necessarily the same on the law enforcement side. If you have to make entry into a house, you can have the added variable of a human figure, which is completely unpredictable.”

At the burn site, student safety was the top consideration. Before and after the burn, students were directed to have their vitals taken for monitoring reasons, as well as having multiple instructors present not only to teach, but to help as well. All of the students have worked so hard since September to acquire the knowledge necessary to participate in a live fire situation.

Public Safety Academy senior, Leilany Pagan, said, “The live burn was such an immense opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and further my education in the firefighting field, as I have worked hard and learned so much since September, and cannot wait to take The State of Ohio fire examination.”