The night unfolded its cool blanket over the the campus as students dispersed to their various activities…

An aroma of sizzling egg rolls filled the air as Mr. Roque worked his magic in the cafeteria. Half a dozen students crowded around, watching their novice creations turn a golden brown in the oil, then withdrawn to cool on a rack, awaiting hungry mouths. At a staff house farther up the road, students, icing bags and sprinkles worked in harmony to create masterpiece cakes and cupcakes. And if you happened to glance out the window to the fire trucks parked outside the campus building, sporadic jets of water shooting into the air would assure you that yes, Fountainview Academy students were indeed learning how to fight fires with a fire hose — Practical Night had arrived!

Always a favorite, Practical Night broke the monotony of books and class worksheets, and tested our limits and creativity. For my part, I was in the fire brigade. Our objective: to successfully put out a fire about the size and intimidation level of an ordinary campfire. But high spirits and enthusiasm made up for the lack of blazing pallets, and soon our group was divided into teams of two. After a brief overview on fire tips and safety, the time came for my fire-fighting buddy and I to take a turn at controlling the powerful hose (Which, I was informed,had a pressure of 100 psi!). Gritting my teeth, I dug my heels into the soggy ground and fought to hold the jet of water steady, until ashes were all that remained of the crackling flames.

Looking back, one might think that Practical Night didn’t leave me with much in the end. Lots of my friends came away from their workplaces with carved wooden boxes, cute cupcakes or cleverly sewn aprons. But while on the other hand, firefighting gave me soaked shoes, tired muscles and a black smudge on my cheek, it also gave me a new appreciation for the people who risk their lives daily at this job. Teamwork, persistence and fire safety — I’ll keep what I learned that night for the rest of my life.

Julianna D.
Grade 10