Seventeen Fire Service Technology graduates walked across the Nampa Civic Center stage and took the Firefighter Code of Ethics oath to celebrate the completion of the program on Dec. 14.
The graduation ceremony honored 16 graduates from Class 4 and one graduate from Class 3, as well as three Fire Service Technology program students who earned their Associate of Arts (AA) degree.
The ceremony kicked off with Director of Fire Service Technology, Darrin Raskopf, welcoming the graduates’ family, friends, and special guests. Graduates and Fire Service Technology instructors marched into the ceremony holding flags and reciting the pledge of allegiance.
Raskopf then showed his appreciation to CWI faculty and staff members who have had an impact on this program throughout it’s time at the College, including Dean of Social Sciences and Public Affairs, Courtney Santillan, who will be departing CWI at the end of the Fall 2022 semester.
Raskopf also highlighted the success the class saw over the last four months and shared that three of the 17 graduates have jobs already lined up. Two recruits will be joining the Nampa Fire Department, and another is set to work with Caldwell Fire Department.
“I always look forward to the graduation ceremony each year as it is the culmination of all the hard work of the students and is a time to celebrate their accomplishments,” said Raskopf. “The bond that is formed between our instructors and the students extends far beyond the classroom, and it’s great to see some of the friendships and mentoring continue on after they leave. This group of students is a great class, and it was a pleasure to have them in this program. “
Valedictorian and Fall 2022 Top Academic Award recipient, Matthew Jones, also spoke during the ceremony, thanking friends, family, instructors, and the many active and retired members of the Treasure Valley fire community who helped train the class. He shared how proud he is of his graduating class and how close they became throughout the semester.
“We became a team over the last 16 weeks,” Jones said. “Whether it was 105 degrees outside, and we were sweating bullets, or if it was 30 degrees — we encouraged each other at every step of the way. That is what it meant to be a crew. These were the moments that built us.”
The ceremony also highlighted more student honors, including CWI Fire Service Technology graduate, Brandon Trask, receiving the Most Physically Improved Award.
Keynote speaker, Chief Richard Frawley of Caldwell Fire Department, shared with graduating recruits what lies ahead in this career — long days, time away from family, but also the lifelong friends and “second family” they will make along the way. He also told graduates to continue to learn and grow at every point in their career.
“These are my words of advice; remain humble, listen and learn, ask questions, always come to work knowing why you serve and why you’re needed, don’t be afraid to ask for help, have a servant’s heart, the team is greater together than individually, always be in pathway for learning, and never stop being a student of the craft,” said Frawley.