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Apopka Fire Department

What does it mean to receive an Armando Borjas Jr. Scholarship?


The Armando Borjas Jr Scholarship Foundation is founded on the core principles that Armando himself represented each day - dedication, self-improvement, and the drive to spread knowledge.

Those are just a small fraction of values to hold.

Today, I'm sharing how this scholarship has helped me and has continued to influence my daily operations. During my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted to help the community in some sort of way. I found a drive to go towards the fire service.

But I had some hurdles to overcome.

I didn’t have a job and no financial funds to use to help me to get to that goal. While attending the Apopka Fire Departments’s Explorer program, I was presented with the opportunity to apply for the Armando Borjas Scholarship.

It was said that this scholarship can help with either EMT or fire school. I was shocked that such an opportunity could be presented to me. But before I could attempt to apply, I needed to know who Armando was.

We were given a packet with a description of the scholarship and details about Armando. It talked briefly about his career in the Marine Corps and at the Apopka Fire Department.

But I wanted to know more, so I had the pleasure of speaking with his parents. His father told me more about him. His passion is to continue to be the best you can be in anything you do.

It opened my eyes and made me want to use this same motivation every day.

Finally, the day came when we interviewed for the scholarship. We were asked about the mission of the scholarship and how we think it could help us. I truly believed this was a start to a career that will only continue to open doors to your future.

AFD recruits Josh Bolander, Xavier Spry, and William Ayala (left) talk to Mr. and Mrs. Borjas (right)
AFD recruits Josh Bolander, Xavier Spry, and William Ayala (left) talk to Mr. and Mrs. Borjas (right)

After the interview, all the applicants gathered around Armando’s parents and talked more about ourselves and our goals. I learned more each time. With the scholarship, I was able to go through fire standards. While going through this, I used it as my motivation to push through anything the curriculum threw at me. It was an honor to represent a foundation that not only provides you with an opportunity to go to school but also shines a light on Armando’s legacy.

This scholarship is more than just an aid, it is being able to impact one’s life through the life of another. All of us started at the same step. We all went through some sort of curriculum with a school. This is where we all found the passion of truly being a Firefighter. But to just sit down and think about how big that is, there are no words that can explain the magnitude of it all. So, if the scholarship can help touch any of those individuals going through any sort of school (Fire & EMT) with the result of becoming a part of the family, it will do so and more.

You carry Armando’s legacy with you and guard it for those who will do the same.

William Ayala won an Armando Borjas Jr. scholarship in 2017. He was hired by the AFD as an EMT/Engineer in 2018, and was promoted to Engineer in 2022.

Apopka Fire Department, Armando Borjas Jr. Scholarship Foundation, Apopka Fire Department Explorer Program


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