Piper students gifted fire truck for future firefighters

Piper students gifted fire truck to improve their studies
Published: Sep. 13, 2023 at 12:33 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (KCTV) - The Public Service Academy at Piper High School, part of the statewide Career and Technical Educational Program, was donated a 1977 fire truck from New Jersey by way of Shawnee Mission School District to help their student’s studies.

Piper USD 203 Superintendent Dr. Jessica Dain said, “We want them to graduate with skills beyond just a high school diploma.”

The 1977 truck was first donated to the Shawnee Mission School District but they have since gotten a new one so the district partnered with the Piper Education Foundation and has now given it to some Piper High Pirates.

“They will be excited about getting to learn by doing and that’s something that makes learning that much more meaningful,” said Public Service Academy Instructor and Bonner Springs Firefighter/EMT Matthew Reitemeier. “A lot of what we do in the fire service is more ems based so we’ll be utilizing a lot of the rescue tools we have on the fire engine. We got extraction tools donated to us.”

Modern-day firefighters are heavily computerized, unlike the 1977 truck. But still, that won’t stop the kids from learning essentials about how a fire truck works.

“How to upkeep a fire apparatus and that’s part of a firefighter or EMT or paramedic duty, is keeping up their ambulance or fire truck,” said Reitemeier.

The program gives students real-world experience to put on a resume after high school. The academy has 90 underclassmen students currently and then those students branch out into their specific career paths including fire, EMS, law, police work, and forensic sciences.

Reitemeier believes the addition of the truck to their studies will increase the number of students choosing to be a firefighter or EMT.

Dain hopes this Piper learning style will begin a pipeline of talent to local fire departments.

“The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department is here as well and our goal is to have this beautiful community partnership where we’re teaching skills, we’re partnering with them along the way, and then our kids will go to work for them right here in our community.”

READ MORE: Education News