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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Students in the Blue Valley School District had their first day of classes Wednesday. But for some students in the district, it’s not your normal “walking the halls” and sitting in the classroom kind of day.

Students have the opportunity to attend core classes, like English, math and science in the morning, then participate in the Fire Science Program at the Overland Park Fire Training Center.

“We have seven students in the class,” Andrew Bobka said to his new class. “So, everyone’s going to have an air pack, everyone’s going to have a mask.”

Bobka is the training officer with Overland Park Fire. He will school Blue Valley students in real world scenarios, saving lives.

The program is a collaboration between Overland Park Fire and the Blue Valley School District.

“It’s essentially a 1-2 year job interview,” Bobka said. So, it’s a good opportunity to learn what it’s like to be in the workforce and model the behavior that’s going to be expected of them. So they have the opportunity to succeed every day that they’re here.”

Students have the option to ditch the normal electives and become firefighting and Hazmat certified.

“Students lined up and we also helped wash people down and decontaminate them and it was a really cool experience,” Student Ben Seitz said.

The class is two hours a day for two school years. Students can earn college credit.

After students ace the course, they will be one medical class and a physical short of being ready for hire.

Seitz’s is on his second and final year in the program.

The medical side sparked his interest. Now, he’s hoping to become a surgeon and thanks this course for guiding him down the right path early in high school.

Adam Wessel is the career ready program director for the district.

He said the Fire Science Program is just one of many they offer.

“We also have programming in things like welding, electrical, electrical, plumbing, cyber security,” Wessell said. “So, were really trying to expand where students can learn outside of that traditional classroom setting.”

At firehouses across the metro, Bobka recognizes the shortage of firefighters.

He hopes this class inspires some homegrown heroes.

“Hope to see applications from some of those students.

Bobka and students waste no time in getting started. He said, in two weeks, students will tackle CPR training.

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