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A New Year and New Program Brings Opportunity for Future Firefighters

January 19, 2018 - Partners in Education

On January 9, family members, friends, instructors, fire captains and chiefs came together to celebrate the months of hard work that thirteen Aparicio-Levy Technical College (ALTC)/ Hillsborough County Fire Rescue (HCFR) Academy students put forth to gain their certification in order to become firefighters in Florida. Class 17-01 is the first class to graduate under the newly formed ALTC/HCFR program.

Students battled their way through intense blazes, rescue drills and climbed to extreme heights, and in doing so 100 percent were prepared and passed the Florida state standards testing. Now they are certified and ready to apply for jobs throughout Florida.

Johnnise Perkins, the first and only female in this inaugural class is currently working with AmeriCare as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and plans to apply with Hillsborough County Fire in the near future.

“I am looking forward to making a difference in my community and being an example for all the young women who want future careers in the fire service,” said Perkins.  

In the Spring of 2017 HCFR's Chief, Dennis Jones, reached out to ALTC principal, Dr. James Goode, and requested that he open a fire academy course at his campus in the Fall. With the support of HCFR, Goode and his team successfully had the program up and running, which typically takes a year to implement.

“Chief Jones approached me, and had faith that we could make it happen and we did. I am proud of this program and the partnership we have created with Hillsborough County Fire Rescue,” said Goode.

After certificates were handed out, the students presented Goode with a fire helmet that said “FIRST DUE 17-01”. In fire lingo, first due means “the first to arrive at the scene of the fire”. With this being the first graduating class through Aparicio-Levy Technical College, the students thought it was a fitting term to commemorate the achievement and show their appreciation. 

Deputy Chief Jason Dougherty said a few words on the importance of being a public servant, reminding them that when they are hired, the beauty of the job is going in to rescue a victim, not knowing the color of the skin, gender, religious belief or socio-economic level, but caring about humanity as a whole and taking care of your fellow people.

The students are in great hands with a passionate group of educators as mentors and a strong and solid partnership between both institutions. It’s a physically and mentally challenging job, but the rewards of serving to save the lives of others makes it worth it, and for that we are all grateful.

Congratulations to the Inaugural Class- First Due 17-01

Marcus Brathwaite

Logan Campbell

Deane Fore

Bo Hogan

Joshua Kuczma

Javier Leal

Rene Martinez

Carl Molisani

Ryan O’Malley

Johnnise Perkins

Joby Petras

Sean Strouse

Gregory Thompson


To learn more about the programs offered at Aparicio-Levy Technical College, visit:



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