Firefighter’s career passion sparked by EVIT training

Firefighter’s career passion sparked by EVIT training
Posted on 11/19/2021
Firefighter’s career passion sparked by EVIT training

When Antonio Luna enrolled in the EVIT Fire Science program at age 16, he wasn’t sure if firefighting was definitely the career for him. But it didn’t take long for his initial spark of interest at the East Valley Institute of Technology to turn into a passion – a passion he would pass on to his son 20 years later.

“I didn’t know anyone in the fire service and never really considered firefighting before,” said Luna, 37, a firefighter for the City of Maricopa Fire/Medical Department who completed his EVIT training in 2002. “I figured I was only 16 years old and if firefighting didn’t work out, it would only cost me one year of high school.”

Instead, he “immediately fell in love with firefighting” and the teamwork that career requires. Now as a veteran firefighter, he is watching his son, Antonio Jr., follow in his footsteps. Antonio Jr. completed the EVIT fire program in 2020 and is now pursuing his associate degree at Mesa Community College and applying to be a firefighter like his dad.

EVIT Fire Instructor Antonio Luna and EVIT Fire Science Alum Antonio Luna, Jr.

“He is going to be an awesome firefighter one day and will be way better than me,” Luna said. “I can’t wait to see all the amazing things that he will do.”

EVIT’s Fire and Emergency Services program is one of 40 career training programs that East Valley high school students can take tuition-free.  EVIT also offers tuition-based programs for adults, with financial aid available in some programs for those who qualify.

Like many students, Luna initially learned about EVIT from a friend. A classmate at Mesa’s Westwood High School told him about his experiences in the fire program and Luna was intrigued.

EVIT Fire Science instructional aide and alum Antonio Luna

“One thing that really caught my eye was the team aspect of firefighting. I loved the team aspects in football that I played my whole life, knowing that one person can’t do it all; it literally takes a team to win,” he said. “So I saw a lot of similarities in football and firefighting.”

After completing two years of fire training at EVIT and graduating in the top 10% of his class, Luna enrolled at MCC, where he earned his EMT-B certification and associate degree, graduating with honors. He then went on to Arizona State University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in operation management and graduated cum laude.

Today, as a firefighter for the City of Maricopa, Luna helps out that community and surrounding communities in any emergency situation. He also recently returned from northern California where he was deployed for 18 days to help battle the River Complex Wildfire.

EVIT Fire Science father & son, both alum of the EVIT career training program in Mesa, AZ

“Our assignment for the first seven days was to protect the town of Cecilville. Part of our assignment was to establish and hold the control lines as well as put out any spot fires that would jump across the control lines,” he said. “After the town of Cecilville was secured, we were reassigned to protect the town of Callahan. This is where we spent the remainder of our deployment establishing and holding control lines while putting out spot fires.”

In addition to his full time firefighting job, this married father of three has also found time to give back to the EVIT program that started him on the path to the career he loves. Luna works part-time as an instructional aide and substitute teacher.

“My family and I have been very blessed in life because of EVIT and this is one way that I can give back to the community that has given me so much,” he said. “I also enjoy teaching the next generation of firefighters. It brings me joy to see them grow throughout the program.”

He added, “Without EVIT there is no firefighting and my life would be way different. EVIT gave me the tools that I still use today and I’m forever grateful.”

EVIT students have a 98% high school graduation rate, 2 out of 3 go on to college and 94% are in jobs related to their training, college or the military within a year of completing their training. Enrollment for 2022-23 is under way. To start the process, visit

Antonio’s Career Path:

  • Completed EVIT Fire Science program in 2002
  • Earned associate degree and EMT-B certification at Mesa Community College in 2005
  • Graduated cum laude from Arizona State University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in operation management
  • Today: Works as a firefighter for City of Maricopa Fire/Medical Department and instructional aide for the EVIT Fire & Emergency Services program.

Get started on a career while in high school:


How to enroll in high school programs at EVIT:

  • Complete and submit application online at
  • Parents/legal guardians of new students will need an active email account to access and use the online registration system
  • Upload attendance record, discipline record, current unofficial transcripts and proof of immunizations
  • Admissions office will inform students via email once application is approved or if more information is needed
  • EVIT is for all high school students – public, charter, private or home-schooled – who reside in one of 11 East Valley school districts: Apache Junction, Cave Creek, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Gilbert, Higley, J.O. Combs, Mesa, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, Tempe
  • More information: Call (480) 461-4108


How to enroll in adult programs at EVIT: