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Firefighters for Literacy: Students Ride Fire Truck to School
Firefighters for Literacy: Students Ride Fire Truck to School
Posted on 05/14/2021
Five W.W. Estes Elementary students hopped out of a fire truck on May 14 to begin the school day.Featured Photo: W.W. Estes Elementary students and staff stand with members of the Asheville Firefighters Association and Asheville Fire Dept.

By: Benjamin Rickert
BCS Communications Dept.

With their whole school cheering, five students beamed as they hopped out of a fire truck on Friday, May 14, to begin their day at William W. Estes Elementary School. The students were the top readers of each grade level during this year’s Firefighters for Literacy program.

“It was a dream come true,” said fourth grade winner Alejandro Falquez, “because I always wanted to be a fireman.”

The partnership between Estes, the Asheville Fire Fighters Association (IAFF Local 332), and the Asheville Fire Department encouraged students to dig into new books alongside fire fighting mentors. Students logged their daily reading and the top readers of each grade level won a ride to school with the local firefighters.

“The kids really worked hard to earn their spot on the fire truck,” said firefighter Captain John Ellis. “We do this because we want to help build literacy in kids. Students that are more literate are more ready to learn. It’s important to build that self esteem and help them get rolling in the right direction.”

Last year’s program was cut short due to the pandemic and the Estes community was grateful to continue their reading tradition.

“I almost teared up watching the kids come in with all of the excitement,” said Estes Assistant Principal Angie Trantham. “The normalcy of it was just wonderful as we celebrated a skill that they’ve really been working on. They’ve been so flexible and resilient this year. But at the end of the day, they are still kids and deserve to have some fun with the hard work they are putting in.”

The five winning students included Jonah Bell (kindergarten), Shanique McKenzie (first grade), Miles Townsend (second grade), Miguel Lamas-Soto (third grade), and Alejandro Falquez (fourth grade). Their teachers this year are Julie Sockwell, Karissa Covington, Raegan Solomon, Alexa Shanklin, and Karla Buchanan, respectively.

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Buncombe County Schools is in the process of reviewing its website to ensure compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Buncombe County Schools does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs or activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 and federal regulations to not discriminate in such a manner. This requirement extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing federal regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator's contact information is: Shanon Martin,, 828-255-5918, 175 Bingham Road, Asheville, NC 28806.

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