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Escalon CTE Program Expands In Second Year
Escalon High School CTE teacher Mike Helton visits with some attendees at a recent Friday night football game while manning the ambulance, donated to the class by Escalon Community Ambulance. He is one of the teachers this year for the CTE class that focuses on EMT and fire sciences.

A Career Technical Education program for Escalon High School students is drawing plenty of interest.

Focusing on firefighting and emergency medical technician training, the class is now in its second year. It has benefitted from the donation of an ambulance previously in service with Escalon Community Ambulance. Michael Helton was the teacher for the first year and this school year, Seth Davis has been added to the staff to also teach within the CTE program.

Davis is a reserve firefighter from Manteca and an EMT; he works at Stockton 99 and Delta raceways as well.

Helton said he is glad to be a part of the staff at EHS and feels the class is beneficial for the students.

“We in fact teach a First Responder program, an EMT program and a Fire Science program, we have an ambulance that was generously donated by Escalon Community Ambulance, the school district also purchased a fully functional fire engine from a private collector for the students to use as well,” Helton explained. “Through generous donations by area fire departments and EMS companies our program has been able to fully outfit our students in turnouts and other equipment needed for them to appropriately learn the Fire Sciences.”

Helton added that Davis has been a great addition to the staff and Escalon Unified School District Superintendent Ron Costa said the growth in the program from year one to year two shows how needed the CTE curriculum is for students.

“The kids this year and from last year all learn American Heart Association Basic Life Support for the Health Care Provider. This is a huge step in the career progression as every company will require this level of certification for future employment,” added Helton. “Even our younger kids will be able to gain part time employment at places due to this certification, maybe even at the Great Wolf Lodge (in Manteca) as a Lifeguard or other First Responder elsewhere.”

Helton said that in the first year of the program, the students paid for their certifications but they are hoping to provide assistance with that effort this year.

“We are trying to get local donations to pay for all 240 students in our program to get the needed certifications and other equipment needed for the program to succeed,” he said.

Also weighing in on the need for the program was Escalon Community Ambulance Chief Vanessa Herrero, who said the organization was glad to provide the ambulance and looks forward to seeing the students learn and grow – perhaps with some of them even joining the local ambulance squad in the future.

“I am truly excited for this program to only grow larger in scope as the need is definitely there for professional growth and necessity,” Helton said. “I tell my students that I don’t think this profession will ever be automated as it is the human connection that is so necessary to being a great caregiver of the sick and injured.”

Helton has over 30 years of experience in EMS. He was a medic in the United States Army with the first Ranger Battalion and served several tours overseas as a combat medic.

“After my service I worked as a paramedic for American Medical Response in Stockton and Modesto, and worked in executive protection for the US State Department,” he noted. “More recently I worked part time at MJC and The Academy for Professional Development, as an instructor for EMT programs. I am certificated to teach Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, Pediatric Advanced Life Support, Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support, Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support.”

Helton added that he “loves teaching” in Escalon.

“The kids are really looking for something to be a part of. I hope Seth and I can provide that type of direction for their futures,” Helton said.