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The Cherryville Eagle

Chavis Middle students learn about being a Public Service Academy

JCMS 8th graders asking questions and seeing the equipment with firefighter Colby Heavner.



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John Chavis Middle School counselor Elishia Oliver and Principal Ryan Smith were, along with other faculty members and school students, pretty excited to host the Cherryville Fire Department recently. 

The professional firefighters were on hand to introduce the kids and staff to what it was all about in being a Public Service Academy. 

Oliver noted that firefighters Colby Heavner and Kurt Black were there and spoke to the students, bringing some of their turnout gear and other items they use in their job of putting out fires and rescuing people in danger.

Oliver said it for everybody when she said, “They were awesome.” 

Principal Smith noted that as John Chavis Middle School is now a Public Service Academy, they need their students of today to “answer the call to be tomorrow’s heroes”, and – he added – “middle school is an ideal time for students to begin thinking about how they can be a future hero.”  

According to a media release about the Public Service Academy, or PSA, it was noted that, “Through the Public Service Academy, students will explore how they can one day make a difference in the following career fields: education/teaching, criminal justice, public safety, emergency medical care, and government.”

Oliver continued by adding that, “Academic and career exploration is important during the middle school years as it is a time of self-discovery for adolescents.  

“Students have opportunities (in the PSA program) to learn about what it takes to become a police officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, lawyer or a judge, teacher, and a leader in either municipal or county government.  

“Field trips, guest speakers, community service opportunities, and the Teacher Cadet Program will give students an up-close and hands-on approach to learning about what it means to serve the public.”

Principal Smith, agreed, and added, “I had a great time with our Public Service event!” 

Smith, however, in giving credit to whom credit is due, continued, “I can’t take the credit for any of the event and its accomplishments though. Ms. Oliver has done a wonderful job with our Academy. She is serving as our coordinator, along with all the other great things she does here at Chavis. 

“I feel that centering this story and its results around Ms. Oliver and her involvement with the Choice Academy is awesome recognition for her. 

“I would also like to thank the Cherryville Fire Department for taking time out of their busy schedule to be here a full school day with this!”