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Angelina College Fire Academy Celebrates GraduatesClass 23-60 Sends 19 New Firefighters into the Profession

By GARY STALLARD
AC News Service

Angelina College’s Fire Academy celebrated its 60 th graduating class on Wednesday, with 16 cadets crossing the stage of Temple Theater to receive their designations as certified fire fighters.

Lt. Jason Pope, Fire Academy Coordinator, introduced guest speaker Capt. Shawn Dillon, who was a member of AC’s very first fire academy 59 classes ago. Dillon spoke of the definition of the word “goals” while offering the new firefighters a different meaning.

“I saw something that I like better than the actual dictionary definition of ‘goal’,” Dillon said. “I read that ‘A dream written down with a date becomes a goal, a goal broken down into steps becomes a plan, and a plan backed by action becomes reality.’

“You’ve already achieved one goal by graduating this academy, but the fire service is an ever-changing industry,” Dillon added. “Continue training and learning every aspect of this great profession.”

Class valedictorian Stormi Ray spoke of the “giving of one’s self” required for such a calling, and reminded her classmates of how they’d already shown great courage just by choosing such a “noble career.”

“For those of us who have chosen to become firefighters, to even be here and gone through this class is an ultimate act of bravery,” Ray said. “You could have given up [at any time], but here you are now, still not knowing what the next day brings or how long your career might last. So with all that, you’ve already made an awesome sacrifice just to be here.” Pope announced the Most Outstanding Cadet recipient as Dennis Cartwright.

The new firefighters, along with their home towns, include the following. Caden Barrios (Cushing), Dean Brown (Nacogdoches), Dennis Cartwright, Jr. (Denison), Edward Davis (Cushing), Joseph Hawthorne (Lufkin), Andrew Knight (Cushing), Jackson Linam (Nacogdoches), Zakery Martin (Lufkin), Conner Murray (Huntington), Trey Pleasant (Nacogdoches), Cole Powers (Conroe), Stormi Ray (Lufkin), William Stanaland (Nacogdoches), Conner Tate (Nacogdoches), Walker Thorne (Apple Springs) and Colton Wilson (Elkhart). Academy staff includes Doug Conn, Senior Director of Public Safety Training Fire/Law Enforcement; Lt. Jason Pope, Coordinator Fire Academy; Capt. Shawn Dillon, Assistant Coordinator Fire Academy; and Kim Capps, Administrative Assistant.

For information on the Angelina College Fire Academy, contact Jason Pope at jpope@angelina.edu .

Photo captions:
Valedictorian Stormi Ray:
Angelina College Fire Academy Class 23-60 valedictorian Stormi Ray addresses
the crowd and classmates during Wednesday’s ceremony at Temple Theater. The academy
recognized and awarded a total of19 new firefighters. (Gary Stallard/AC News Service)