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Fire Scholarship Money Means More Access to Education
May 3, 2017
For the first time, the Fire Academy at Fresno City College will provide their cadets with an opportunity to receive a scholarship.
Soccoro Gonzalez-Deaver, founder of the scholarship program, said he recently made progress in finding funds to help students. In a fundraising event for the Jim Deaver Fire Academy scholarship at the Kings River Winery in Sanger on March 26, about $21,000 was raised from an auction, ticket sales, drinks and T-shirt sales. In addition, community members have donated around $3,000. Other donations have not yet been calculated. More than 350 people attended.
The scholarship, which was approved in December 2016 and named after retired captain Jim Deaver, will help towards tuition and other expenses for the 33-week course of the fire academy which costs approximately $3,000.
“It’s awesome,” said Tanner Munro, a fire academy student, “that we can potentially get some money to pay for tuition and other expenses.”
“It’s exciting to see people recognize us and respect the work being done,” instructor Oney Durney said.
Organizers of the scholarship have not determined the amount of money students will receive, the number of students who will receive the scholarship, the dates students can apply for the scholarship or when students will receive the scholarship money as of yet.
Gonzalez-Deaver said that students will need to write a 500 word essay and have at least a 3.0 GPA to qualify for the application.
Students who volunteered and helped at the fundraiser event were not notified until afterward that the money raised was for the scholarship fund.
“We actually found out as a class,” Rick Hancock, a fire academy student, said. “It was a really shocking experience.”
Deaver, who the scholarship was named after, is recovering from anoxic brain damage after he had a heart attack in late 2015. Along with more than 30 years of service as a firefighter, Deaver was and still is a well-known member of the community.
Gonzalez-Deaver, his wife, said she wanted to continue the work he started as a ROP Fire Technology teacher at Sanger High School.
The academy intends to prepare students for their work in the field of fire technology.
In addition to the 804 hours of instruction, students must complete a number of volunteer hours.
“There’s a lot of work and hours in the academy,” Durney said. “The academy is difficult scholastically and physically.” Students have also worked to raise money to send kids to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation Champ Camp, a camp for burn survivors to have fun, make friends and to boost their self-esteem.
The founder of the scholarship is motivated to help students.
“For a lot of students, money is a deal breaker for college,” Gonzalez-Deaver said. “If we can help the students reach their dreams through this scholarship, Jim would love it.”