ATGLEN (June 7, 2019) – Sonia Kloss, a senior cadet at the Octorara Homeland Security and Protective Services Academy (OHSPSA), was honored by state Senator Andy Dinniman and other officials upon being named Cadet of the Year at the academy’s graduation ceremony.
Kloss, who is an active member of West Grove Fire Company, was also awarded the Chester County Police Chiefs Scholarship.
Dinniman, who spoke at the academy’s graduation ceremony, emphasized the achievements and potential of Kloss and her nine fellow graduating cadets in highlighting the need for more support and resources for similar programs.
“Our young people are our greatest natural resource. We have a wealth of intelligent, energetic, responsible, and dedicated young adults here in Chester County who want to learn and develop the skills and talents to give back to their communities through public service,” Dinniman said. “And the Octorara Area Homeland Security and Professional Services Academy is a groundbreaking program that allows them to do just that.”
Last year, Dinniman secured $50,000 in state grant funding for OHSPSA, a three-year Career and Technical Education Program offered to students in tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grade. The academy is partnered with the Chester County Public Training Campus (CCPTC) to offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students interested in careers in firefighting, law enforcement, and emergency medical services.
The academy consists of two half-day programs at the Chester County Public Safety Training Campus (CCPSTC) and student academic instruction at their sending district’s high school.
It is housed at the CCPSTC to provide students with the latest technology and equipment available while offering them the opportunity to interact with firefighters, law enforcement and emergency management professionals on a daily basis.
Cadets in the academy, like Kloss, also join their local fire department or emergency service department upon entering the program.
Students who complete three years of the Octorara Area Homeland Security and Professional Services Academy program can earn up to 60 State and National Certifications as well as up to 54 college credits. Internships and co-op work opportunities are available for select students.
“The officers and members of West Grove Fire Company are extremely proud of Cadet Kloss’ accomplishments and we are proud to have her on our team,” said Eric Felker, Assistant Fire Chief of West Grove Fire Company. “We need to allocate more resources to educational ventures such as this program. We appreciate the funding that Senator Dinniman has secured in the past and look forward to continued state financial support.”
As for Kloss, she will graduate from Avon Grove High School this week and plans to quickly enlist in the United States Coast Guard with the goal of becoming a rescue swimmer.
Dinniman said that the academy continues to be successful in “inspiring young people to careers in public safety and service by tapping their potential through innovative hands-on programs that give them the tools and knowledge to get and stay on the right track early on.”
Of course, he added, it doesn’t hurt that for some cadets, like Kloss, emergency response is already a family affair. Her parents, Robert and Nicole Kloss, serve as a firefighter and EMTs with West Grove Fire Company.