Rain pushed the opening comments indoors but rain is no obstacle to protective services students and staff. Pennsylvania Fire Commissioner, Charles J. McGarvey, Sr., and the Assistant Administrator of the PA State Fire Academy, Dr. David Smythe, addressed the eight students from across Pennsylvania who qualified to compete at the state-level SkillsUSA Firefighting competition. The competition is being held today at the Lancaster County Protective Services Training Academy.
Commissioner McGarvey told the students that they are the future of the fire service in Pennsylvania. He explained that firefighting volunteerism has been down across the state and it was good to see young people ready to be leaders to take the firefighting service into the future.
“You are the leaders in your fire companies and in your counties. And hopefully, you’ll help to continue the tradition of volunteer fire fighting in our state. It is important,” Commissioner McGarvey said. The commissioner wished the students well and reminded them that they may be in a competition today, but safety always comes first in firefighting.
“Everyone wants to go home at the end of the day,” he said. “So you do things the right way and you do them the right way every time.”
Dr. David Smythe also congratulated the students for their efforts and studies that have helped them reach this point in the state competitions.
“From my perspective, the fact that you chose to get into this field, to study it, to know it, and to future leaders in this service, you’ve already won the competition,” Dr. Smythe said.
Marik Tomassetti, a current LCCTC Protective Services student from Pequea Valley School District, is one of the eight competitors in today’s contest. Kyle Martin, an LCCTC Protective Services student in 2019, progressed through the district and state levels SkillsUSA to become the nationwide Firefighting champion at the SkillsUSA conference and competition in Louisville, KY.
SkillsUSA is very popular with LCCTC students year after year. Students elect to participate in SkillsUSA early in the school year and spend spare time, both in and out of school, doing extra studying and preparation in order to be ready to compete at the SkillsUSA competitions in the winter and spring.
SkillsUSA is a national, non-profit education organization for students in career and technical education (CTE). SkillsUSA offers youth development training through a variety of programs and activities to promote personal, technical, and workplace skills with the overriding goal of developing well-rounded and well-trained CTE students.