STANWOOD — Wade Grant, 18, recently earned his high school diploma through a home-schooling program. He also completed a few classes at Stanwood High School where he learned about welding and the mechanics of small engines. Grant has spent the last two years in the North County Fire Explorer Program. In the fall, he moves on to the fire academy.
Question: How did you like home schooling?
Answer: I was in a home-school coop. Once a week there was a class that was taught by other home-school moms. It was good to meet other people. It’s also kind of nice being able to focus on areas that you enjoy and move toward your career. There’s a lot more flexibility.
Q: What school subjects did you enjoy?
A: History was pretty cool. I didn’t care for math too much. At the high school, I did an agriculture mechanics class. There’s a benefit to public school. There’s some classes that were difficult to do as a home-schooler.
Q: How have you spent your summer?
A: I’ve been busy working (at Starbucks) and hiking a decent amount with friends and family. I did quite a bit of camping.
Q: How did you get involved with Explorers?
A: I’ve always been interested in the fire service. I didn’t join until I was 16. The reason for that was because I was in Boy Scouts. I became an Eagle Scout and then joined fire Explorers.
Q: What does the Explorers program entail?
A: We meet once a week, except in July and August. Each month has a theme. One month was first aid, the next month will be hose work or search and rescue. We practice the worst case scenario. We stuff trash bags in our masks so we can’t see. Then we go into the room, find the victim and pull them out.
Q: Why did you join?
A: With Explorers, you have a team and working together with them is really cool. The fire service is like a family. Having a job where you serve people is really cool.
Q: Tell me about your first few weeks in the program.
A: One of my first drills, they actually went to a house that was vacant to practice search and rescue inside. I had no idea what I was doing. It was a lot at first, but I enjoyed it.
Q: What do you have planned next?
A: I’m joining the fire academy in September. I’m very excited — slightly nervous — but Explorers prepared me for it. After the academy, I’m planning to attend Everett Community College and pursue a degree in fire science.
Q: What advice do you have for teens considering a job in the fire service?
A: I would say to try out Explorers, even if they’re not sure if they want to pursue a career in the fire service. It also helps you get to know people and make a name for yourself. And, make sure that’s a good name. That way, when people hear your name they think, “Oh, he does good work.”
Caitlin Tompkins: 425-339-3192; firstname.lastname@example.org.