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Thursday, July 28, 2011.

33 graduate from AVC Wildland Firefighter Academy

Cheered on by friends and family members, 33 men and women graduated Thursday afternoon from Antelope Valley College’s Wildland Firefighter Academy during a ceremony in the Lancaster campus cafeteria.

The students enrolled in an intensive summer program that included use of power saws to clear vegetation in mountainous terrain, safety, and wildland fire engine operations. The students are now eligible to serve with firefighting crews with the U.S. Forest Service and California Department of Forestry.

Graduate Carl Thomas was singled out as having the best academics in the class by instructor Bruce Schmidt.

Other graduates included Elias Bellat, Elaine Calaba, Nicholas Carter, Matthew Dawson, Dane Dexter, Arturo Garcia, Moses Gay, Ryan Granados, Mikel Haffett, Roger Harris, Joshua Holtz, Norwood Hurst, Ricardo Ibarra, Victor Iniguez, Devon Jeffrey, Nathan Johnson.

Rob Lazarian, James Liggins, Jose Machuca, Jose Martinez, Christopher Oleinik, Timothy Oleinik, Keyun Parker, who served as battalion chief for the graduating class, Codie Ponschke, Christian Puebla, Manuel Rocha, Saeed Shakir, Gregory Spandri, Roberto Torres, Veronica Veliz, Emilo Virgen and Kevin Wood.

This was the eighth class of graduates from the college’s wildland academy.