Student balances modelling and fire academy with school work


Zainab Mounshed, Reporter

Stephen Sims is training to be a firefighter and does part-time modeling on the side. But, he is also just a regular high school student figuring out which college he should go to. 

¨I have been accepted and offered scholarships to universities like Texas Tech, Northern Arizona University, Abilene Christian University, and Oklahoma University.¨ Stephen said.

The fire academy application process starts in the sophomore year. The application goes through a rigorous testing process to be selected. The applicants participate in a physical agility test, panel interviews, and a review of their academic file. The applicants are then selected to accept an invitation to the fire academy. The academy starts the first semester of junior year and continues to senior year. At the end of the first semester of senior year, the students take the Texas Commission on Fire Protection state certification test. Stephen successfully passed and is certifiable as a firefighter. In the second semester of the Senior year, the students go through Emergency Medical Technician training. When they graduate the goal is to have the graduate prepared to take the EMT state certification test and be certifiable as a firefighter/ EMT. They can get a job as a professional firefighter.

Stephen’s teacher at the fire academy is Fire Lieutenant Darren Henken. Henken said Stephen is a dedicated student. 

¨Stephen is a self-starter, a go-getter,” Henken said. “Stephen is definitely a leader and a team player. Stephen is driven to be successful;  He works hard for what he wants and has set his life goals very high.  I have never seen Stephen not have a can-do attitude; he puts 1110% in everything he touches. Stephen wants nothing but success for himself and the others in the class with him.¨

After high school Stephen sees himself doing his dream job working as a firefighter/paramedic in Dallas with his stepdad while working part-time as a physician’s assistant having just finished school. 

¨I feel like at this time I will truly begin to discover things I never knew about myself and will definitely be loving the new challenge that is living in the real world,¨ Stephen said.

While the pandemic takes a toll on many people and their day to day lives, it also takes a toll on Stephen’s modeling gig. Stephen does commercial modeling so he just does and wears whatever his director wants him to do, so he doesn’t have the opportunity to express his own creative side. 

¨However, outside of modeling, I do experiment a lot with clothes and mixing and matching colors so I guess I could say I express my ideas of getting outside one’s comfort zone when I dress outside the job,” Stephen said. “I would be able to take more photos if it weren’t for Covid.¨ 

There were pros and cons for Stephen once it came to the pandemic. For example, working is a con because he couldn’t do it. 

¨I had two jobs set up right before the pandemic had started and more were pending so it sucks that I couldn’t do that but at the same time, I’m kind of happy because I could focus more on fire academy and school.¨