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D.C. Everest Enterprise Students Partner with South Area Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) District to Construct Training Equipment
On May 3, D.C. Everest Senior High students enrolled in the DCE Enterprises course delivered a custom-made reinforced steel door and frame to members of the SAFER Fire District (South Area Fire and Emergency Response). The door and frame assembly will be used by members of SAFER to train firefighters on how to breach a door in the event of an emergency.
In order to be fiscally responsible, SAFER Battalion Chief Mark Meyers and his team had been brainstorming ideas concerning creating a door and frame assembly. They had considered constructing the item themselves and located production plans online. However, they quickly realized the task was outside their area of expertise. As they explored local options, one of the SAFER members mentioned the student-led D.C. Everest Enterprises program.
The DCE Enterprises program is a year-long course, added to the curriculum in 2020, that allows students to run a custom metal fabrication business. Students are in charge of every aspect of the small business, from managing the supply chain, to bookkeeping, billing, production and fabrication, finishing, and shipping. Students who enroll in the course are exposed to all facets of the business but can focus on what most interests them — product design, CNC manufacturing, finishing and coating, welding and fabrication, shipping and receiving, website development, advertising, marketing or finance.
Now in its third year, the student-led enterprise has developed a strong presence in the community and abroad. They produce— for example — custom metal signs, decorative waterfalls, fire pit grates, picnic tables, trailers, benches and aluminum truck topper cargo hauling baskets. This year, their product line has expanded to include a custom-made reinforced steel door and frame for SAFER.
One of SAFER’s employees is a former student of Steve Kmosena, DCE technology education teacher, who launched the DCE Enterprises course. The SAFER employee met with Kmosena and they reviewed the plans and the specifications — the door has to be able to withstand brute force, according to Meyers — to determine whether DCE Enterprises had the capacity for the project. The students then began working on a bid for the project, contacting SAFER for clarification as needed. Once the bid was presented to SAFER and approved, the project was launched. Before the design was finalized, SAFER visited the site of DCE Enterprises to review the door and frame to see if any changes were necessary. “It was an awesome visit,” noted Meyers. “The students were so enthusiastic. We are very grateful for the process. It’s saving us money, we have a great training prop that will serve us well and we had an opportunity to work with area students who are part of an impressive program.”
When the SAFER team arrived to see the final product, they had the opportunity to speak with a few of the students who helped manufacture the door and share with them the role the steel prop will play in the rescue personnel’s training sessions. A few firefighters even demonstrated what the training sessions will consist of while the students stood nearby and watched. “All too often, the “next” generation is viewed in a negative light. We regularly hear comments such as today’s students only know how to play video games or kids these days are lazy. This project and this program provides evidence that our future is bright,” concluded Aaron Hoffman, DCE Career and Technical Education Director. “These students have been heavily involved in every facet of the design and construction of this door and, quite honestly, they’ve done amazing work. We strive to create the best environment for students and support them along the way, and every time they take things further than we thought possible. We’re really proud of the students.”