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Main Machine conquers StFX University

Darrell Greer and Shelley Cameron McCarron
Northern News Services

Rankin Inlet (May 24/06) - The Nunavut flag became a banner of academic achievement at St. Francis Xavier University's Spring Convocation earlier this month.

NNSL Photo/graphic

Arviat's Heather and Fiona (right) Main picked up two of the top medals at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, during their gradua tion earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Shelley Cameron-McCarron

Arviat twins Heather and Fiona Main, known on the Antigonish, Nova Scotia, campus (StFX) as the Main Machine, picked up two of the school's top medals.

Heather took gold for the highest average in the final three years of an honours science program, while Fiona was awarded silver for tops in honours nursing.

Heather said it felt good to hear their names called for the awards.

"It feels like, "OK, I really did it," Heather said.

"It's nice to be recognized for all your hard work," Fiona said.

"Our parents will be really happy."

The Main sisters said although they work hard, they're not the type to stay up all night to study.

They work consistently, but always make time to eat and sleep.

Neither are they competitive with each other.

"She actually beat me again," said Fiona, tongue-in-cheek.

"It was the same in high school," recalling the two being neck-and-neck for the Governor-General's medal.

While the Mains were strong students in high school, they worried about how they would fare at university.

They were the only two from their graduating class at Qitiqliq high to go on to post-secondary studies.

When it came time for university, the sisters - self-described as close, but not dependent - wanted to attend a small school.

They had high school teachers from the East Coast in Arviat, and StFX kept popping up in their search for a university.

"We had never been here before, so we recruited ourselves," they both laughed.

Fiona said the StFX experience was everything she could have wanted for her university studies.

"I knew what was said about StFX being close-knit, and it was like that a lot, especially in the nursing program," Fiona said.

"The professors are wonderful, and the honours in nursing, that program is so supportive of its students."

"It's good because you don't get lost," Heather agrees.

"You always feel you're connected to the professors and can get to know them."

As for future plans, Heather is going to travel a bit before returning to school for her master's study.

Fiona is taking a nursing job in Ottawa this fall, but plans to someday continue her education and teach.