By Scarlett Adams, Talon Staff Reporter
It’s not every day you find a student who spends a great deal of time volunteering at the hospital, participates in cheer, has a killer GPA, and is planning on attending college in the fall. Senior Olivia Brink does all of the above, and on top of that, volunteers as a student firefighter.
“I wanted to join because I aspire to become a nurse when I’m older and wanted to gain hands on experience on medical calls,” said Brink. Back in August, Brink signed up as a volunteer student firefighter at Westside fire. “I was pretty nervous when I joined because I knew absolutely nothing about firefighting.” After her first experience with fire though, the nerves wore off and were replaced with pure thrill.
Brink’s mom compares her daughter to a Career Barbie, adding another occupation to her closet of activities. Her dad thought it was a joke, but they were both supportive and knew their daughter was capable.
Every Wednesday night Brink attends meetings at the Westide Fire Station. Sometimes, they participate in fire drills. One of her favorite fire memories was during a drill at the fire station. Their objective was to extinguish a contained fire inside giant metal bins. Suited in turnouts, or fire suits, and oxygen tanks, which according to Brink are extremely heavy, the crew crawled through the carnage. Surrounded by tar thick smoke and a smoldering inferno, Brink and her teammates successfully put out the flames. It was truly adrenaline-packed. “I was stoked, of course.”
“I would never be able to experience those things if I wasn’t a firefighter,” Brink said. “Going into a fire gives me the biggest rush.”
“She learns pretty quickly” said senior Willie Ishizaka, who is in Brink’s department. “We’re interested in the same things, so we get along,” said Senior Janelle Pedroza, also a student firefighter in the Westside Fire Department.
“I’ve learned that I don’t have to fit into any stereotype in order to do something” said Brink. ”Even though I look nothing like a fire fighter woman (and wear mostly pink clothing) I can still do something I’m passionate about!” Brink said. According to Brink, it’s important to not identify yourself into a certain stereotype, and do what you want to do, not what people think you should do.
Brink is more than happy she signed up to be a student firefighter. “I wish everyone could experience it! It’s the best thing I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I took the risk.”
Students who are interested in taking the step to becoming a student firefighter can contact study hall teacher Joe Correa. Participants can earn a school credit on top of gaining experience in the field.