If you ask Sarah Irving what she likes best about the CRTC Cosmetology Program, the Merrimack Valley senior will likely say it’s the friendships she’s formed over the past two years by working and learning beside a group of students who all share the same interests. “By spending so much time together working towards the same goals, you end up creating the kind of bond that you know you can depend on one another,” she said. “You really end up becoming a kind of family.” (She even confided that the students like to call the teacher, Ms. Kimberly, “mom”) Sarah grew up interested in hair, makeup and style in general, often experimenting with her friends to create “that look.” She also had an older sister who went through the CRTC Teacher Prep program, and so when she was a sophomore in high school she knew she wanted to enter the Cosmetology program here. “This program has exceeded my expectations,” she said. “I didn’t realize just how many things I’d be learning to do in this class.” Sara’s favorite activity is participating in SkillsUSA, which is a national partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives that offer local, state and national programs and competitions aimed at promoting technical skill development and career readiness. Sarah has been a state SkillsUSA officer for the past two years, and recently won gold in the state competition. The next stop is the national competition in Louisville, Ky, in June. “This means a lot to me because SkillsUSA has been a big part of my life for the past two years,” Sarah said. “Competing nationally means the chance for big scholarships, opportunities, and meeting new people from around the country.” However, in order to compete, Sarah will first have to raise close to $1,000 toward travel, food and lodging expenses. To help her close the financial gap, Sarah has started a GoFundMe page in hopes of getting some help, and says she’d appreciate any donation that helps her to make this opportunity a reality. “Sarah was extremely professional at the state SkillsUSA competition,” said Kimberly Hannon, who teaches the Cosmetology program at CRTC. “She’s one of my hardest working students, and she always puts a lot of positive energy into whatever she does.” In the classroom, Sarah is a real team player, Ms Kimberly added. “She works well with everybody I pair her up with, and she always approaches challenges with a ‘can do’ attitude.”Sarah is still unsure what she will do after graduation, but wherever she’s headed, she says the career readiness skills she’s learned at the CRTC are sure to help her get there.
“The best thing about the CRTC is that you learn some real skills, you learn how to act professionally, and you learn how to have fun doing it.”