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At 50, county fire chief is valedictorian at CWC
Craig Haslam spoke at Central Wyoming College commencement. The 50-year-old county fire chief is one of the college's valedictorians this year. Photo by Wayne Nicholls

At 50, county fire chief is valedictorian at CWC

May 20, 2013 - By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

When Fremont County Fire District Chief Craig Haslam signed up to get his fire science degree at Central Wyoming College, he didn't plan on getting straight-A grades.

"My goal was to do well, but by no means did I ever want to be valedictorian," Haslam said. "I thought that was for younger kids."

He said he was honored to be chosen as one of the 11 valedictorians with 4.0 grade point averages recognized MAy 10 during CWC's commencement at the Robert A. Peck Arts Center Theatre in Riverton. Haslam spoke during the ceremony.

"I'm proud of the fact that's what I got," Haslam said.

He earned his associate of arts and science degree in fire science this year, adding to a list of educational accomplishments that begin in 1981 when he graduated from Wind River High School in Pavillion. Haslam said he also earned an associate's degree in auto mechanics in Utah and is a Wyoming Certified Fire Officer 3 as well as a certified fire service instructor.

He said he's glad he took the opportunity to continue his education in fire science.

"It almost seems kind of silly at 50 years old to get a degree, (but) I just decided to do it," Haslam said. "One of my things I tell people is you need to learn something every day -- so I guess I was taking a little of my own medicine."

Haslam said the fire-related classes reinforced the knowledge he's gained over his 15 years with the Fremont County Fire Protection District. But he also had to take some general classes, including U.S. government.

"I did an online course with that, and it was kind of fun," Haslam said. "I got to visit with the younger generation, which was kind of entertaining sometimes."

The class also involved hard work, he said, commending his classmates for staying engaged throughout the semester.

"When I did an online course that was something I had to do two or three times a week to keep up with those," he said. "It's good to see there are younger people interested in our government at work."

He's planning to take a break from school after graduation, but Haslam encouraged anyone interested in a degree to pursue options at CWC -- especially his fellow firefighters and anyone interested in working for the district.

"Even if it's just one class, take the class and learn something," Haslam said. "People need to take that opportunity to improve themselves."

He was joined on the stage by 10 other valedictorians: Abigail Ann Ehlers, Macey Fegler, Kali Lynn Howe, Tetiana Y. Hutchison, Marta Iwasecako, Rachel Lamb, Zachary R.M. Lettenga, Jonathan P. Rasbach, Jordan Stapley and Kaitlyn Tracy.

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