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Police, Firemen Participate in Freshmen Academy

The City of Manassas Police and Fire & Rescue departments participated in Osbourn High School's Freshman orientation program this week.

The City of Manassas Police and Fire and Rescue departments participated in s Freshman Academy on Wednesday.

Fire and Rescue personnel used the ladder truck to demonstrate how it would be used in rescue situations, as well as used a special hydraulic rescue tool to remove the entire top of a car, the City of Manassas said in a press release Thursday. Students also had a chance for hands-on experience while using a fire extinguisher to safely put out a fire.

City of Manassas Police personnel demonstrated training exercises with K-9 officers and their partners. The dogs and officers showed students the close relationship between officer and K-9.

They also demonstrated a K-9 searching for and finding an illegal substance. Motor officers drove through a coned obstacle course and displayed superior motorcycle driving skills, according to the city release. The City of Manassas SWAT team used their urban assault vehicle to show students how they would secure a vehicle that has armed and dangerous people on board.

The Osbourn High School Freshman Academy began as a pilot program started by Osbourn High School Peer Mentoring Instructor Michael Dufrene.  The program, which provides help in note-taking, finding resources and the importance of turning in homework, also goes beyond the traditional freshmen orientation by working to create a positive learning environment for the school year by starting with the program by allowing teachers and students to get a head start on collaborating and communicating with each other. The  academy will also focus on leadership skills, coping strategies, character building, time management techniques, maintaining a positive attitude, enhancing self-confidence, and team building activities.

Fifteen students participated in last year's program, which has grown to more than 130 students this year, it was noted in the release.

The Fiscal 2013 school board budget ,  which has been attributed to a significant decrease in discipline referrals among freshmen.

"We are getting incredible results from Mike Dufrene's work as Freshmen Academy adviser in identifying at-risk students and working with them," said Chair for the Manassas City School Board Scott Albrecht during budget talks earlier this year. 

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