PCA Student Already Preparing for Post-Grad Career

PCA Junior, Tyler, doesn’t fit the stereotype of a “college-prep kid.” He arrives on campus each morning in his 1997 Ford F-350, filled with tools for his occasional auto-repair jobs he takes on outside of school. He has a quiet and nonchalant demeanor, but his passions and chosen career-path are nothing of the like.

Tyler’s dad, Pat, is a retired Marine Corps Police Officer. It was his stories about responding to life-threatening situations and putting the safety of others before his own that sparked an interest in Tyler to pursue a life of helping others as well.

“I have always been interested in the emergency services my whole life.”, said Tyler.

“My father, who retired from the military police in the Marines, got me into it. Just hearing his stories drove my interest even farther, and it really seemed joining that field was what I was being called by God to do. I have always enjoyed helping people as well. Just the little things, like helping my neighbors out, other students with work, or just listening to those who do not really have a voice in certain things. Also, at a young age I remember just watching the fire trucks, and police drive by with the lights on and I always thought how cool it was.”

Tyler (pictured left) stands in his full gear with his mentor.

Through a Facebook advertisement, Tyler found out about an opportunity to learn more about the fire service. After a year of training in a small local fire department, Tyler knew he had found a career he wanted to pursue.

“After about a year on that department I decided I wanted to do more, so I transferred to a much larger department, and I have been here coming onto 3 years now. One of the roles I have now is to lead our junior program that the department offers. I teach and lead some trainings, along with organizing the meetings and how the program flows.”

As Tyler has progressed through the training program, he’s been able to pick up key skills like CPR and basic first aid. While on calls, Tyler says he can pretty much do anything but go into a fire.

“I’m able to pull lines off the truck, feed the lines into buildings, and help make sure the right equipment is easily accessible when the guys need it. When I go in for the day, I always start with making sure my gear is all set up, clean, and ready to go for when the trucks go out. You find out really quickly that knowing where everything is is super important in a high-stress situation.”, he says.

While there’s lots he’s learned on the job, including how to read smoke, how it can re-ignite itself in a fire and make the scenario that much more perilous, and even learned how to build his body to withstand the physical toll of carrying equipment for the duration of a structure fire, there’s plenty of off-the-job help he’s received from his education at Portsmouth Christian Academy.

Thanks to a partnership with Dover High School’s Career Technical Center, Tyler has been able to take courses in Dover’s Fire Science Program this year.

“It has really helped get my reps in with drills and training, but it has also showed me how the even bigger departments train and flow, even with such a high call volume. Every week is a new adventure. We have a couple classroom days, which are good for relearning the book-work, but after all that we get to actually use our skills in simulated environments.”

In addition to his hands-on learning through Dover’s CTC, Tyler’s PCA classes continue to help him become a well-rounded critical thinker and communicator.

“PCA classes have helped me develop into the person I am today–tremendously. Whether it be talking to adults in a professional manner, different public speaking skills, and even the reassurance that the Lord is with you in challenging times, even though you might not think so.”

Upon graduating from PCA, Tyler plans to attend medic school, where he’ll be able to gain more knowledge about medical practices and, eventually, he says, go into law enforcement. He continues to meet with PCA’s College Planning and Career Guidance Department to identify the best path to his chosen career.

When asked why her and her husband send Tyler to PCA, his mom, Teale, said, “I would say God spoke to us and lead us to PCA. We find the teachers really love him and care about him and his interests as a person.  To be able to pray in school and to have God as the focus in all things makes PCA an incredible school!”

Tyler is a fantastic example of how students at PCA can maximize their God-given potential in a variety of ways, whether it’s directly through a PCA class, a course taken through Dover’s CTC, or in the character development and Christian maturation gleaned in the day-to-day interactions with students and faculty members at PCA.