Thirty-three College of the Siskiyous Firefighter I Academy students took their final exam the morning of May 20 before preparing for their graduation ceremony that afternoon in the Kenneth Ford Theatre at the Weed campus.
Nearly half of the graduates from the 34th COS Academy were from Siskiyou County.
This is the first academy where the son of an alumni has graduated. Jacob Jones from Yreka is the son of Hornbrook CAL FIRE Captain and 1996 Academy 4 graduate Jon Jones.
Guest speaker Rick Weigele, Chief of the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Department, told graduates to “become and remain passionate about your fire service career.” He told them to be dedicated to their careers, but not to forget their families.
Weigele reminded them to be kind, honest, respectful, truthful, to never give up, never stop learning, and never quit listening to people who are smarter than they are.
He said when you need a plumber or electrician you have many phone numbers to choose from in a phone book, but there is only one phone number for the fire department. “You should be the best that you can for the community,” he said.
Justin Neese from Huntington Beach, who is the Class Battalion Chief because he had the highest test scores, said, “Every morning when it was still dark outside, we eagerly took on the challenge.”
He said to his classmates that there were many twists and turns and ups and downs, but with encouragement, sweat and determination they made it through.
Wendy Watkins from Paso Robles was awarded the Trumpet Award for exceeding Academy standards.
Top students, who are squad captains, were: Wesley Daniels, Luis Leon, Steven Jannsen, Austin de Lambert, and Greyson Bromstad.
Cody Sherfy received the Decausemaker Scholarship award.
Following the ceremony, Jon Jones said that being a firefighter in their family is “kind of a legacy.” He said it is a career his son Jacob chose. “He wants to be my boss,” said Jon with a smile.
Jacob, a 2016 Yreka High School graduate, will be starting his second season with CAL FIRE in Alturas. He plans to return to COS to earn an Associate of Science degree in fire science.
Jon said the career is meaningful because it’s about “being a part of something bigger than self and helping people.” Jacob agreed.
Jacob’s brother Tyler, a sophomore at YHS, is also considering a firefighting career.
A video presentation showed scenes from the many trainings the graduates went through during the semester.
Following the graduation, refreshments were served in the lobby.
Graduates of the 34th Academy are: Joseph Betts, Yreka, CA; Jayke Bobrosky, Martinez, CA; Conner Bridwell, Montague, CA; Greyson Bromstad, Walnut Creek, CA; Nicolas Camello, Placerville, CA; Jacob Capp, Napa, CA; Wesley Daniels, Nevada City, CA; Austin de Lambert, Brentwood, CA; Jake Deegan, Montague, CA; Clayton Dexter, McCloud, CA; Jordan Emerson, Redding, CA; Matteo Gaskey, San Pedro, CA; Cesar Gonzalez, Mount Shasta, CA; Cody Hankins, Grenada, CA; Steven Jannsen, Grass Valley, CA; Dylan Joling, Montague, CA; Jacob Jones, Yreka, CA; Alexander Kelsey, Janesville, CA; Noel Cody Kirby, Littleton, CO; Luis Leon, Eureka, CA; Ethan Machado, Huntington Beach, CA; Carlos Nava, Weed, CA; Justin Neese, Huntington Beach, CA; Kevin Nielsen, Yreka, CA; Jose Orozco, Weed, CA; Brian Phung, Millbrae, CA; Juan “Carlos” Rosales, Citrus Heights, CA; Dylan Shafer, Eugene, OR; Cody Sherfy, Fort Jones, CA; Wendy Watkins, Paso Robles, CA; Tyler Watson, Montague, CA; Mac Wessell, Fort Jones, CA; Dakota Wilson, Weed, CA.