Corey Turner knew from the time he was in middle school that he wanted to be a firefighter, but the math required for the job didn’t always come easy for him.
Turner started visiting the Fruitdale Fire Department in Brown County when he was in middle school, and he’s wanted to join the fire department ever since. He’s taken firefighting, hazardous materials and EMT training at the Central Nine Career Center, and he hopes he’ll soon be able to join a fire department somewhere in the state and train to be a part of a search and rescue team.
“I (want to) go through the buildings, crawl around and look for things,” Turner said. “I like the more dangerous work.”
But students have to know equations and other lessons from algebra to pass the career center’s firefighting courses, and Turner had trouble keeping up in his math courses at Indian Creek High School. He usually needed extra help understanding the lessons in his algebra and geometry assignments.
When he fell behind as a freshman, he started failing some of his courses.
Turner worried that he wouldn’t be able to finish high school on time, which would mean he couldn’t earn the certifications he needed to become a firefighter. But this year he was one of about 30 students who joined the Indian Creek Learning Center, Nineveh-Hensley-Jackson’s first alternative academy.
Students at the alternative academy complete online courses at their own pace — which meant Turner could finish lessons he understood on his own and get help from learning center director Adam Blackburn to complete more difficult lessons in algebra, geometry and other courses.
Turner knew that he would have to work quickly to make up for the courses he hadn’t completed during his first three years of high school, and he couldn’t miss class since that would put him further behind.
“You have to be very motivated to do this kind of schooling,” he said.
But by Christmas, Turner could see the work paying off, and for the first time he started to feel as though he could graduate this spring.
Now, Turner is finishing his firefighting and EMT courses at Central Nine, and once those are complete he wants to focus on finding a job with a fire department.
“Now I can continue with my life,” he said. “I don’t have to come back to school and wait to go on with my career. I can go ahead and start looking for a job.”