On Fire for Education
What may appear, at first glance, as an emergency crisis is actually a well planned training exercise. Like Orlando Junior Academy, the Orlando Fire Department recognizes the value of hands-on experiential learning and was able to benefit last week by setting this old house ablaze. OFD has eighteen new recruits that were able to train in a “live fire” scenario in an actual residential structure, which is a rare and valuable opportunity. The house itself is located across the street from our school’s gymnasium and sits on a double lot. OJA owns this property and is looking to expand the current Edible Schoolyard program to address the needs of the greater community. Rather than simply bulldoze this building down, OJA realized it could be used for educational purposes by the fire department. Since it is OJA’s desire to be engaged in its community and partner with those who make that community a better (and safer) place to live, OJA agreed to let the fire department have free access. None of this would be possible of course, without the generosity of Florida Hospital and Brasfield & Gorrrie, who have agreed to support our Edible Schoolyard by removing what is left of the house and preparing the lot for future development. These are the kinds of partnerships that we see as being vital not only to the success of our school as an institution but to our graduating students as well. It is our hope that children leave OJA with the desire to be an integral part of their community, receiving graciously and giving generously, equipped and inspired to make a difference.