Students are all fired up at QHS
Three Quincy High students will be the school’s first to take part in the state-level Skills USA firefighting competition in Tacoma.
Seniors Jesus Gonzalez and Jay Gates and junior Pedro Velasquez qualified at the regional contest to move on and face the state’s best firefighting students. The April 1-2 event will include oral and written tests at the Hotel Murano and the physical skills segment at Bates College.
If the Quincy students do well, the next step will be the national competition in Kentucky.
Michele Talley, Grant County Fire District No. 3 firefighter and recruit and retention coordinator, teaches the fire skills course through a cooperative agreement with the school district. This will be the first time her students have qualified for the state meet.
“This year, to place half my class is great,” she said. “We were better prepared (at regionals) than we were last year.”
Velasquez said he enrolled in the firefighting class because “I might choose to be a firefighter. It’s important for the community.”
The physical test at Tacoma will include tying knots, hoisting ladders and using fire extinguishers. Velasquez said the most difficult part has been learning “all the types of knots.”
He added, “The competition will be about everything we’ve learned in this class.”
Gonzalez isn’t planning a firefighting career at this point, but said that might change in the future. Like Velasquez, he has found the course interesting but challenging.
“I was surprised by how much there is to (firefighting),” he said. “I never knew it was that complicated.”