From #bloggertobeautician Graduation Recap

Back in September I was so excited to announce that I was heading to cosmetology school this fall! I'm finally turning my kitchen-beautician hobby into a full-fledged career!

All my life I have been playing in some hair. Especially mine. I started doing my own hair in the fourth grade and never looked back. Once people at school and church saw my styling skills they requested those same styles I had mastered! So I was like 12 building and maintaining my clientele in my mother's foyer, through high school and college, right up until the moment I made the decision to become a licensed stylist. Who knew it would lead to this!

After starting NHDC with my sister in 2012, I saw a real need to merge the worlds of the DIY naturlista and the professional stylist. So in January of 2016 I called my then hair stylist Fawnne V. Smith, Master Stylist and Owner of Salon Noa in Virginia Beach VA, and told her about my goal coupled with the desire to attend my dream cosmetology school.

My Boss Boo Fawnne

It was in another state and cost upwards of $20K! She knew my circumstances and recommended the Cosmetology Apprenticeship program through the Commonwealth of Virginia. I thanked her immensely for the gem, and started my research. I had no desire to pretend that I was too good to do an apprenticeship and only spend $857! I learned that I had to become a registered apprentice, complete on-the-job training, and take the related instruction at Norfolk Technical & Vocational Center in Norfolk , Virginia. Easy right? WRONG!

School was a serious challenge. From the minute I met Becky Mellot, I knew I was in the right place. One of the first things she said to us was "I don't have to be friends with you to make you a top notch hair dresser." And right after that she gave us our first lesson on pediculosis capitis (head lice lol). That tough little lady stole my heart immediately.

Our instructor Ms. Mellot

We had class on Mondays and Wednesdays, completing practical and theory work for 10 months. Our enrollment started out as 21 and when we finished on May 17, 2017 19 of us completed school. It was tough to say the least, but well worth it in the end. We were able to help each other learn, re-learn and demonstrate the skills required of us each and everyday. From tangled mannequins to smelly perms we got through and mastered all the basics required for us to pass the state boards. I can say for sure, that the apprenticeship program's cosmetology class of 2016-2017 produced some of the finest hair stylists and future salon owners in the Commonwealth. My colleagues are phenomenal and I was able to build, bond and form some true relationships.

Viola, Michelle, Kaberlyn and Caroline

My seatmate Reghan, the most focused person in class!

My girl Viola

Usies with Kaberlyn
My classmate Diamond

Our graduation was beautiful! Dr. Reba Jacobs Miller and Mrs. Brimmer put together a touching ceremony that highlighted our achievements. I felt so accomplished hearing our accolades being shared to our loved ones and supporters in attendance.

Dr. Jacobs-Miller and I

I was asked to speak briefly about the program and my personal experience at NTVC.

Speaking from the heart

Hearing my final GPA for the first time made me so emotional

Not only did I complete school, but I did so as valedictorian, with the highest percentage in the class, 99% to be exact, and the highest score on our final written exam. This achievement did not come easy. I spent many sleepless nights studying, practicing, and completing chapter work.

My certificate of completion

This program is highly competitive, placing us neck-and-neck with our industry peers who have attended more well known beauty institutions. Not only do you get all the benefits of any cosmetology school, but you also get on-the-job training that prepares us to be licensed cosmetologists, educators, brand ambassadors, salon owners or anything we set our minds to achieve.

Ms. Mellot, my classmates and I

I am so thankful for my family and friends who have supported me along this journey from #bloggertobeautician. From encouraging words, to caring for my son, to business advice, to being my clients, my tribe has really held me down and I am so grateful!

Managing full-time motherhood, a full-time job, full time apprenticeship, NHDC and life has been a challenge but if I could get it done, ANYONE can! Nothing in my life just happens to me. I work extremely hard and those of you that have followed along my journey from #bloggertobeautician already know and witnessed how hard I worked. I thank God for this blessing and dedicate EVERYthing in EVERY way to my son #HarperAnthony. I wanted to show my son what hard work, dedication and the pursuit of excellence would look like. He is my motivation and my reason why I manage it all.

My Harper

Next goal, completing my salon hours in order to qualify to take the state board for my license. Stay tuned! Follow me on my cosmetology journey as I go from #bloggertobeautician! @shalleenkaye

For Shalleen-Kaye*:

Professional Photography @chadflucas

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