Entering the danger zone

Maize High seniors prepare to go into dangerous careers after high school by taking classes now to prepare


Emma Wilks

Maize High’s college and career counselor, Diane Close meets with students every day to help them plan for their lives after high school.

Growing up in a family with four brothers and watching men join the military, Maize High senior Sylivia Burns wanted to change the mindset that only the men in the family do the big jobs.

infographic by Emma Wilks

Burns plans on going into the military after high school, hoping to be a journalist for the Navy. Burns would be considered an active duty member of the military, working in dangerous conditions to produce media, but for her that is her dream.

“Joining the Navy makes me feel like a badass,” she said. “I hope people and family members look up to me that, you know, women can do anything too.”

In order to become a navy journalist, Burns will have to score well on the ASVAB test that she will take in Kansas City, Missouri. The test will determine which job in the military her strengths would be best suited for. She has been preparing by doing the practice book for both the ASVAB and ACT.

Burns looks forward to living out her dream of traveling and meeting new people when she joins the Navy. She is also excited for the discipline and strict schedule that comes with being in the military because she loves having something to stick to.

“I think it’s a really cool opportunity to be able to travel and say that I went to these places because of your job and your occupation and doing what you love,” Burns said.

Burns looks forward to her future and believes that it gives her a cool opportunity to be the first female amongst the men of her family.

“I’ll just make a statement for myself and also where I came from,” Burns said. “I never would’ve seen myself doing this, but I’m excited for it.”

After five years of being an active duty member of the military, Burns will be able to go to college completely for free.

“I kind of want to do my own thing,” Burns said. “I want to support myself, so this is leaning into adulthood, and everything will be paid for in the Navy.”

Maize South senior Christian Bolinger remembers learning about the police force from his neighbor as a kid, which sparked his interest in the career. Bolinger hopes to live out his childhood dream of becoming a police officer after he graduates.

“I’ve always wanted to be in Law Enforcement,” Bolinger said. “When I was very young, I went as an officer and my neighbor, who is now a police lieutenant, took me around in his patrol car which definitely helped with the interest”

Bolinger has grown his knowledge in the field by taking the law enforcement classes offered here at the Maize Career Academy. He is currently working at the Sedgwick County Jail to gain experience in the field and prepare him for attending the Police Academy after high school. At the Police Academy, Bolinger will learn more about laws, police codes, and how to make arrests.

“I am most excited to have the opportunity to help people and do the whole catching the bad guy thing,” Bollinger said.

Helping people in the community has always been a dream for Maize High senior Scott Dayley. Dayley hopes to live this out by becoming a firefighter after high school.

Alex Jordan and Trey Reisman

Dayley has taken fire science classes at the Maize Career Academy and earned multiple certifications. He plans to continue working towards more certifications and get a fire science degree. It will take him two years to get this degree.

Even though there is a lot of work that goes into becoming a firefighter and there are lots of potential risks involved, Dayley says it is worth it to help people.

“I’m interested in it because it feels like something I can do to make a difference, an actual change in the world,” Dayley said.

After doing lots of research about the career, Dayley has learned that he might not make the most money doing it, but that’s not what’s most important to him.

Here are some of the most common dangers for police officers, firefighters, electricians, and the military. (Emma Wilks)

“You don’t do it to make money,” Dayley said. “It’s a fulfilling job, and so I want to do it because I want to feel fulfilled and to help other people.”

Going into a dangerous career, like firefighting, the military, or the police force can cost someone their life. For Dayley, it’s worth it if it means he can help someone else.

“If I die saving someone’s life, it’s worth it,” Dayley said. “It’s always gonna be worth it.”

This story was originally published on OneMaize Media on January 24, 2023.