Students from Clift Elementary arrived early Thursday morning at Fire Station No. 2 to ride in a fire truck to school. Throughout the week Waxahachie firefighters have been supplying rides to students who read the most in the “Blazing a Trail for Literacy” program.

“We started it six years ago. It started as an idea to get involved with the school district a little bit more and do a little bit more with the community. It has grown every year since then,” Waxahachie Fire Department Capt. Dusty Griffin said. “The kids really seem to enjoy riding on the fire engine and it is really an incentive to get them to read some more.”

Griffin said students were challenged to read for a week and they had to log their time. The week of reading was held in November and the student with most minutes read was selected as a winner.

Winners from each grade level at each school were selected. The fire department and Waxahachie Independent School District partner each year for the program. Along with the ride to school students received a shirt and a backpack as prizes. The last day for rides will be held on Monday, Dec. 17.

Before getting a ride in the fire truck students were given a tour of the departments newest fire station by Firefighter Jason Eubanks. Eubanks showed the students the day room, which contains the kitchen and living room, sleeping quarters and ended the tour with a stop at the engine bay. He also opened up the fire engine and showed the various compartments used to store tools.

First-grader Kadence Weiche was one of the riders on Thursday morning. Weiche said she read more than 20 books in the program and would read for 30 minutes each day after she completed her homework. Some of her favorite books are in the Junie B. Jones series that are written by Barbara Park.

Third-grader Alma Perez was excited about the morning events and the ride that she was going to take with the firefighters.

Fourth-grader Amelia Dineen was at the station with her mom and dad, John Paul and Heather. Amelia said here favorite type of books that she likes to read at home are mysteries because they are scary. She is a fan of the “Bones” books written by Jeff Smith and has read most in the series.

Second-grader Joseph Jimenez enjoyed reading “Cat in the Hat” by the well-known children’s author Dr. Seuss during the reading challenge.

After leaving the station students arrived at school with lights and sirens on before a group of cheering classmates who were lined up in front of the school to greet them.

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