Six Beechwood High School students officially mapped out their plans to both continue and begin on-site internships with the Fort Mitchell Fire Department. Beechwood hosted a signing day celebration on-campus Wednesday to commemorate the occasion.
“Our partnership with the Fort Mitchell Fire Department is a model for the region,” Beechwood Internship Coordinator Janelle Hawes said. “Colin and Sam jumped right in, taking every challenge that came their way. We are proud of what they have accomplished this year as senior interns and thrilled they will be continuing with the department as college interns.”
Graduating seniors Colin Conarroe and Sam Keith spent the past academic year as high school interns at FMFD and have committed to embark on college-level internships with the department. Four BHS juniors — Alex Courtney, Bennie Garcia, Wyatt Roads and Alicia Rojas — have pledged to begin their senior internships with the fire department during the 2022-2023 school year.
Conarroe and Keith have logged 180 hours in fire service training, in addition to successfully completing the EMT curriculum. Keith also passed the exam for National Registry Emergency Medical Technician with the second-highest score and was the youngest person in the class.
The Fort Mitchell Fire Department plans to add Conarroe and Keith to the team using a FEMA-based grant, and college interns are eligible for postsecondary tuition assistance by serving a specified number of hours with the department each week. It’s part of a proactive initiative to introduce young people to careers in firefighting as fire departments across the country face the prospect of staffing shortages in future years with a growing number of retirees.
“Today’s signing ceremony is a unique opportunity to highlight the relationship between the Fort Mitchell Fire Department and Beechwood schools,” Fort Mitchell Fire Chief Adam Fuller said. “We are also excited to announce the addition of four new Beechwood High School students to our high school internship program in connection with the Beechwood EDGE program.”
The EDGE program at Beechwood serves as a postsecondary readiness curriculum for all students (preschool through 12th grades) and allows high school students to serve internships in a variety of fields and explore a host of post-secondary paths. Former Beechwood high school interns at the Fort Mitchell Fire Department have gone on to full-time careers as first responders in the Northern Kentucky region.
“This partnership with the Beechwood EDGE would only be possible with the leadership displayed by our internship coordinators, Janelle Hawes and Stephanie Layton,” Justin Kaiser, the principal at Beechwood High School said. “Our Board of Education and Dr. Stacy have allowed our high school to put experiential learning at the forefront of the student experience. This investment has given Janelle and Stephanie the time and workspace to develop such partnerships with local and regional businesses and organizations, and, in this case, the FMFD. We are fortunate to have such a tight-knit community that realizes these relationships only make it stronger.”