Move to Learn

High school academies

01. Prairie Rose School Division has partnered with South Alberta Flight Academy (SAFA) to offer a flight program where students graduate high school with their private pilot license.

“We had one student do his cross-country solo. He got in the plane, took off from Medicine Hat, landed in Saskatchewan, took off again and then came back home.” - Jimi Ricci.

Lead Teacher with SAFA Jimi Ricci says the program offers three components, ground school, flight training and it also has CTS credits to build a full-size, fully functional aircraft. Local company Super T Aviation has given the school space in its hanger to build a Van’s Aircraft RV-12.

The program begins for Grade 10s, but those in Grade 11 can do an accelerated study. After successful testing and the final exam, the students will graduate with their private pilot license.

“When we take someone into the program, we want to make sure they qualify to obtain their private pilot license according to Transport Canada’s regulations,” says Ricci, adding that health, hearing and sight tests are conducted beforehand to ensure students pass a certain level for approval.

The program is transferable to the Medicine Hat College, so when obtaining their private pilot license after graduation students are able to attend the college for the Aviation Management Certificate.

“A lot of times the students can’t believe they’re doing this. Some of them start their flight training at the end of their Grade 10 year," says Ricci. "We had one student do his cross-country solo. He got in the plane, took off from Medicine Hat, landed in Saskatchewan, took off again and came back home.”

Grade 12 student Lindsay O’Connell is expected to graduate with her private pilot license at the end of her senior year.

“You meet a ton of new people and learn so much new information in the program,” says O’Connell. “Everyone you meet along the way is encouraging you to reach your goals as well.”

O’Connell says the experience has been incredible, especially seeing the program grow in just the two years she’s been in it 

02. The cosmetology program at Medicine Hat High School provides career opportunities after high school graduation.

“As an instructor, she really teaches you to take yourself seriously and brings a lot of respect to the industry. Everything she taught me set me up to succeed in the salon and that is invaluable." Breanne Gershon.

Connie Bukmeier has built and evolved the cosmetology program in the 20 years she’s been at Hat High and says the class follows the apprentice hairstyling curriculum, where students start the program in Grade 10, write the government exam in senior year and then have the opportunity to find a job or start a business right after graduation.

“There are so many different facets of the program, and it’s always exciting and always changing. The possibilities are endless,” she says, adding that the life and job skills taught in the program can be used towards whichever career path students choose.

Bukmeier sees her students either working for a salon, owning one or doing provincial, national and world competitions. Others have become educators at post-secondary level.

“In class, we participate in the skills competition. There’s a junior one where they do a braiding style, and the intermediate is bridal style. This year [2021] we got two golds, two silvers and a bronze,” says Bukmeier. "Students that receive gold and silver move to the provincial competition held in Edmonton."

Breanne Gershon was Bukmeier’s student for three years and says the experience helped her foster skills at a young age, which she may not have found without the program.

“As an instructor, she really teaches you to take yourself seriously and brings a lot of respect to the industry. Everything she taught me set me up to succeed in the salon and that is invaluable," says Gershon.

Gershon started apprenticing immediately after high school graduation in 2012 and received her journeyman in 2014. After working in a few salons, Gershan became a self-employed hairstylist at 23.

03. Vauxhall Academy of Baseball homes the junior league team, The Jets.

The Academy has a 5,000 square foot indoor facility with pitching mounds, agility stations, 70-foot batting cage, long toss net and additional batting stations for players to train.

The team’s website states the area has a multi-purpose facility room that has dorm rooms, laundry, a residence manager house, player’s lounge, weight room, cardio room, locker room, therapy room and offices. 

The high school educates Grades 7 to 12; 141 of the academy athletes have successfully graduated in 12 years, giving the school a 100 per cent graduate rate.

Based on provincial academic performance statistics, Vauxhall high school was ranked in the top 15 schools in Alberta while having the baseball academy.

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Move to Medicine Hat is actively supported by these lead community minded organizations, and made possible in part through funding / sponsorship.

The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services. Les gouvernements de l’Alberta et du Canada travaillent en partenariat et financent conjointement des programmes et des services d’aide à l’emploi.