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Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:45

Hard-working native of Tompkins and Elkwater firefighter earns major academic award

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Courtney Flaig walked towards the stage during the Medicine Hat College's Convocation June 6, eyes welling up, full of emotion.


As she trudged up the stairs, the native of Tompkins worked her way towards master of ceremonies and college vice-president (academic) Dr. Len Vandervaart she looked over to her right at her family seated in the front row.
Hearing some words of admiration from them, Flaig looked at them and mouthed "I love you" and blew them a kiss, clearing humbled and moved.
She already had picked up her Practical Nurse Diploma during the second of two Convocation ceremonies. She was now making her second trip to the stage as she was receiving the highly-prestigious Governor General's Academic Medal.
Prior to the ceremony, Flaig was equally as humble, despite the fact she had every reason not to be. The award is recognized as the most prestigious honor that students in Canadian schools can receive and is presented to an individual who achieves the highest overall average upon graduation.
"I truly was surprised; I didn't even know this medal existed," explained Flaig who had studied eco-tourism from the college in 2002. "It's really an honour. I really don't know how to put into words what this means to me to be recognized at such a level."
Flaig had worked extremely hard to finish her nursing program which she took at the Brooks campus. She decided she want to get into nursing following earning a diploma in eco-tourism from the college.
She got interested in the medical field after getting to know and working with the Cypress Hills Provincial Park staff in Elkwater in her role as a volunteer firefighter. They encouraged her to get her Emergency Responder certificate. That piqued her interest in the medical field and she started doing her research on nursing programs in western Canada.
She was most impressed and decided on the Medicine Hat College program and she's glad she did.
Flaig was extremely complimentary of the nursing instructors in Brooks and the program itself. The thorough hands-on training offered and the ability to get their experience across to the students, impressed Flaig.
"I remember on my orientation day, one of them said that there's 100 years of nursing experience standing there," explains Flaig who knew she was in good hands.
Flaig car-pooled between Medicine Hat and Brooks with friends whom she became close to and is very proud of in their graduation. The tight knit group of five shared in the driving and while one drove the others generally did homework. It's mixed feelings for Flaig to have graduation now because they are all now heading in separate directions.
Like many people, she's had to overcome some of life's many obstacles and as they say: look at her now.
She's employed full time at the Good Samaritan's Society in Medicine Hat.
"It's providing a challenge, I've always liked to learn," explains her time so far with Good Samaritan's. "I'm enjoying it and (Medicine Hat) it's home."

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Ryan Dahlman

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