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A Shoals high school senior will walk across the stage Friday night at his high school graduation, and straight into his career.
Justin Timmons, a senior at Cherokee High School, was hand-picked by the state to achieve his goals of being a firefighter. Timmons is a part of the Career Tech Fire Science Academy at Cherokee High School. Where he has learned and trained to be a firefighter.
"Every aspect of training means that your learning how to save someones life and how to protect your own life while helping other people," said Timmons.
The program is offered to every Colbert County student and shows them how to fight fires, save lives, and how to react in hazmat scenarios. The same things normal firefighters experience in their careers, but there is also a lot of book work and scenarios taught in the program.
"The major goal of this program is to certify students in the firefighter 160 program through the Alabama Fire College which will give them ability to be hired at any paid fire department in the state upon graduation," said Michael Smith, the Fire Science instructor in Colbert County Schools.
There are 16 programs like this across the state and each year the Alabama Fire College gives one student an Explorer Scholarship that will pay for firefighter rookie school. Timmons won that scholarship.
"It was extremely huge for him to be selected for that. It was based on an essay he had to write and letters of recommendation," said Smith. "I am extremely proud of Justin. He had no idea he wanted to do firefighting until he got into this program and it really opened some doors for him. I hope his success will then move on and show other kids that there are other options out there."
Timmons told us he realized his dream of being a firefighter after going through the first year of the course.
"As I was taking the class I grew into it and started to love the job and the things you do," said Timmons.
After Timmons graduates high school he will be headed to rookie school at the Alabama Fire College, through the Bridge program in Tuscaloosa.
The Explorer Scholarship will save Timmons about $8,000 dollars. Limestone County Schools offer the same career tech program in their district.