HARLINGEN — She’s on the move.
From basketball, to cheerleader, firefighter and cavalry scout, Avery Alexander always seeks some new challenge. The Harlingen High School South senior is working on her certification in the Harlingen school district’s Firefighter Academy. She’s labored tirelessly for quite some time to earn her 468 hours for the firefighter certification. She looks forward to receiving the certification in December when she graduates from high school.
She’s enjoyed the challenges of the journey.
“It was very well constructed,” said Avery, 17. “Honestly it made me more mature, like all the different training and stuff that opens your mind up to different things you can do.”
The Academy pushed her to reach past her limitations, and those challenges imprinted within her new confidences. One of those tasks required her to climb a 100-foot ladder with no safety harness. Firefighters must be able to accomplish this in spite of the danger.
“It was like, if we fall, we fall,” she said. “I honestly felt like I couldn’t do it and they really motivated me. I made it up there safely and got down safely.”
And how did she manage that?
“I thought about it like, if other people have done this before and they have survived it then I could do it, too,” she said.
Avery said her decision to pursue a firefighter’s certification came after many years of pursuing other competitive activities.
“I play a lot of sports and stuff like that,” she said. “I played basketball for 10 years and I was in cheer for six years and nothing really felt like it was my thing.”
She looked into the Firefighter Academy after observing a friend enjoy the experience.
“I always saw her having so much fun with it, being part of a team,” she said. “It felt like this team always has your back for sure. I think it was honestly just being part of a team that I know will be there for me and I know I can trust them.”
As much as she’s enjoyed the Firefighter Academy, she doesn’t plan to use her certification right away. After she graduates from high school in December, she’ll leave for the Army to train as a cavalry scout.
“Basically in combat they go out and they scout enemies and gather information,” she said. “They’re the first to go out and scout everything during combat.”
Avery is obviously a young woman of great independence and initiative. She gave reference now to her brother, who is already an infantryman in the Army.
“Me and him are always competing, we always want to try to be better than each other,” she said. “I didn’t want to copy him, so my other thing was cavalry scout. It’s basically infantry but they do more. I’m ahead of the infantry.”
She plans to make the Army her career and eventually become an officer. She’ll maintain her firefighter certification with online courses. With that, Avery would like to be a first responder after retiring from the Army.