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News from 2022-2023

Posted: January 19, 2023

Albuquerque Firefighters Mentor APS High Schoolers

APS and AFR Firefighter Ambassador program implemented at all 13 comprehensive high schools.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue Captain Chris Sotelo is a Manzano High School graduate intent on making a difference. Even so, Captain Sotelo never imagined his vision would bring him back to his alma mater to mentor students as a firefighter ambassador.

 “This is a great environment for us to be in, to help kids strive,” said Captain Sotelo. “Growing up, we always dream about that time when we’ll have an opportunity to give back, and this is my time. I take great pride in giving back to these students.”

 Albuquerque Public Schools and AFR joined forces to create the Firefighter Ambassador program at all 13 APS comprehensive high schools this school year. Participating firefighters pass background checks and volunteer as ambassadors at the high schools they graduated from. In daily interactions with students, the uniformed firefighters hope to serve as role models, reinforce the importance of civic duty and encourage students to contemplate life after high school.

 “We know not all kids want to go right into college,” said Manzano High School College and Career Counselor Lorraine Chavez. “The firefighter ambassadors present a valuable career path in demand, with great pay and benefits. We have an opportunity to help usher in a new generation of people to the world of community service. That's exciting.”

While students in grades 9-11 can participate in the Firefighter Ambassador program, juniors and seniors are the focus. Students interested in pursuing a career in firefighting can begin the process at age 18 and eventually move seamlessly into careers of their choice as Emergency medical technicians or firefighters. 

Manzano High School senior Sylus Roy appreciates the outreach. “Even if most of us aren’t planning to go, or if some of us are still on the fence, it gives us more of an in-depth look at what we can achieve and what we can get through the program, which is important.”

Students interested in learning more about the Firefighter Ambassador program can visit their high school College and Career counselor.