Dutch Fork High School rising junior Hannah Leydig became the first female student in Lexington-Richland School District Five to pass the Fire Academy “Firefighters I” test at the Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center).

Leydig enrolled in the “Fire and Rescue 1” course at The Center. The course includes overview of the functions and history of the fire service with emphasis on fire suppression. After earning her South Carolina Fire Academy Firefighter I certification, Leydig was able to enroll in the formal “Firefighters I” class. The class integrates individual online learning along with practical skills sessions that include live fire training opportunities.

“This is such a big honor for me to be the first female to pass the test,” Leydig said. “My family is so proud of me. When I enrolled, I remember telling my mom that I am going to do this. I am going to be the first female to pass this test. I am so grateful for the support of my class – being the only female, they treated me like I was one of them. It really helped me get through the exam and whole process.”

Michael Levy teaches the firefighter courses at The Center and was amazed at Hannah’s willingness to always go the extra mile.

“During our Live Fire Introductory Burn field trip, Hannah was able to push through her comfort zone and succeed at navigating the Columbia Fire Department’s three-level maze without the ability of seeing anything,” Levy said. “She always went above and beyond to conquer her challenges, and never expects any different treatment as a female. Hannah has learned that she has unique abilities to persevere in order to succeed at accomplishing new challenges.”

Leydig says she would like to pursue a career in the Air Force after she graduates, which would also allow her to be a firefighter in her spare time.