Oshawa Fire Services names 2019 Junior Fire Chief
Grade 6 student Alexandria Vugts-Craig has been named Oshawa’s Junior Fire Chief for the year. One of the perks of the designation? Taking a ride in the fire truck.
“I’ve always wanted to ride in a fire truck and blow the sirens,” the 12-year-old said.
Vugts-Craig was the winner of a writing competition that pitted her against 400 other applicants in grades 5 and 6. In the end, her essay about promoting fire safety took the prize.
Oshawa fire Chief Derrick Clark says it was a stiff competition, but Vugts-Craig stuck out.
“She understands the safety and concerns in fire safety, and we felt she captured that,” said Clark. “We felt it was a very important issue that she brought forward about fire safety plans so, on those merits, she was the unanimous winner.”
The student was marched into her school auditorium at Walter E. Harris Public School in Oshawa as a way to announce her victory.
“I didn’t realize how big of a deal it was, and then everyone was applauding and it was awesome,” said Vugts-Craig.
“To think that I’m actually here now and I won is pretty incredible.”
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The winner read her essay to her classmates before being awarded a brand-new bike and other prizes, including a Google Home and a week at junior firefighter camp. While she was being given her award, her parents could be seen beaming with pride and taking photos and video.
“She worked really hard, doing a lot of research for her essay, and she did a lot of preparation for her interview,” said Vugts-Craig’s mother, Lisa Giantsopoulos. “This is a huge opportunity, and we are really excited for her.”
The Junior Fire Chief was given a tour of her new digs for the year, learning about the station and getting a chance to slide down the fire pole as well. In her duties, she will also be able to participate in community events such as the Oshawa Santa Claus Parade.
Vugts-Craig says now that she sees how it all works, she could possibly see working in a fire station in her future.
“I would definitely try fire preventing and educating people because I think it’s very important,” said Vugts-Craig.
And with an official helmet to keep and a uniform, she could be well on her way.
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