When the next school year starts, White Oak High School will begin training students to be firefighters.

Superintendent Brain Gray on Tuesday said the district will offer a fire academy for seniors starting in the fall. It is a partnership with Kilgore College. Mike Simmons from the Kilgore College Fire Academy will help run the class.

The students will take two fire prevention courses and a hazardous materials class during the school year, he said. At the end of the year, students will complete their certification with a two-week course at Kilgore College to be able to work as firefighters.

The district also is partnering with the White Oak fire department and will allow some students from Union Grove High School to come participate in the class, Gray said. Because of its size, Union Grove did not have enough students to make it a full class, but they will be able to take it at White Oak.

Earlier this school year, the district sent out a survey about various possible Career Technology Education courses to gauge the level of interest among students.

In November, Gray said other CTE courses the school is exploring include a criminal justice program in conjunction with local police, a nursing assistant program and print shop using Adobe software.

Gray said the class is part of White Oak’s efforts to create productive citizens in addition to good students.

“If they want to go to university or college or trade schools, we want to give them those tools,” he said. “Career and technical education is paramount to our society. We want to provide those opportunities, and this was a chance to do something that exposes kids to a career field they might have an interest in.”

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Kristen is the News-Journal's education reporter. A Longview native, she got a journalism degree and a graduate certificate at Texas Tech University. She covers a variety of issues, including school finance, board meetings and happenings at local schools.