A Month Overdue...
Alyssa chose to graduate early, a couple of months after she turned 18, so she could go straight into a Cosmetology Program. After looking around, she chose Avenue Five: A Vidal Sassoon School. Only about 12 exist in the USA, so it's a fairly prestigious school. She learned so much there over the 10 month program. The way it works, time wise, is that you have to complete certain tasks, and 1500 hours of work. She quickly learned that keeping lunches to 30 minutes, and coming in a little early, would help click the time off more quickly. And, in spite of being really tired some days, she didn't want to take a hit with regard to her hours. She pressed on. I was so impressed! It was such a different experience from when she went to high school and was leaving early, sleeping late - I think her attendance rate (according to those nasty truancy notes) was about 65%. But juxtapose that with THIS experience - her attendance rate was 104%!!!
Because of this attitude, she was able to shave some time off. She and several of her friends graduated early from this program too. She was in the first week/wave of graduates from the people who started at the end of June 2011.
Happy Hour before the Graduations start
|Britney & Alyssa|
The soon-to-be graduates went out to Hula Hut at Lake Austin. It would be one of the last times for them all to hang out together. Some were going to finish school and get a job in Austin, others would be moving away as soon as they graduated. Even though some of the months felt like the program was never going to end, when it started winding down to the final weeks, everyone was feeling the bittersweetness of graduating.
On the week of April 23-27, Alyssa's friend Roxy would step up to be the first to graduate. Each day after her, Callie, Robin and then Alyssa would reach their 1500 hours and the graduation would start. Sabrina graduated a week or so later, and Alyssa ran up there to be sure that she could bear witness to her friend's success!
|Callie, Robin, Roxy, Sabrina, Alyssa|
|Roxy's Graduation...hugging Alyssa goodbye|
|Her Little Group: Callie, Robin, Roxy, Alyssa, Sabrina|
Alyssa's Graduation Day:
April 27, 2012!
|Sabrina working on Alyssa's hair|
At Avenue Five, as the student approaches their final day in the program, they're able to have take advantage of all kinds of services there for free: Facials, hair treatments, final hurrah's before they're done with school.
|Sabrina working on Alyssa's curls|
I had gone over to the Party Store to get a big balloon, a small graduation cap/hair band, and some vinyl letters to go on her car saying, "Congrats!" and "#1 Graduate". I needed Sabrina's help to get Alyssa's car keys since these stickers had to be done from the inside. Alyssa had brought coffee for her friends that morning and parked in the back. Sabrina handed me her keys and the twoof us started putting the decals on the car. We were almost done when Alyssa came out to the back where people were gathered at the picnic tables. Glancing over at her car, I could hear her saying, "Who's in my car?" BUSTED. Oh well, we finished the job anyway and she just shook her head.
After I was done with my botched nearly stealth car decorating, I went back to pick up Grandma and Josh to join us for the Graduation. Sabrina was just taking down Alyssa's hair when we arrived. Ron met us there and we were all ready.
|Josh & the Graduate|
|With Grandma (Redo!)|
We brought Tres Leches Cake into the break room, and spoke briefly to several of Alyssa's teachers. They all talked about how impressed they were with her. She was the 2nd to the youngest in the entire program. And here she was graduating a month early! She had a 104% attendance rate (compare that to her 64% attendance rate when she went to High School). Clearly, she wanted this. Her grade average was 94. The teachers said she learned quickly, was great with customers, and they really enjoyed working with her. They all predicted that she would do great in the industry.
By all standards, she was wildly successful at this.
|Unbelievably comfortable in front of everyone :)|
|Giving her speech to the student body|
And, here's Alyssa's Graduation Speech. She told Josh she didn't want him to record it, so he quickly handed the phone off to me. It was just aimed in her general direction, but turned out good.
*Be forewarned that this starts out LOUD! It's the students throwing confetti
and cheering for her as she runs for the time clock!
Lots of Hugs...
After the speech, everyone hangs out to hug the graduate. It's very sweet. I'm sorry so many of these were blurry, because they were so nice to Alyssa. I'm going to include them anyway!
Little Reception after the Speech...
|Tres Leches Cake after the Speech|
|Tres Leches Cake - "Happy Graduation Alyssa!|
YOU DID IT!"
|Like her Graduation Cap?|
|The 2 youngest students! Alyssa and LaurenV|
|Robin, Ms. Linda, and Alyssa|
|Callie joking around with Alyssa|
|Dinner at Hyde Park Bar & Grill with Our Graduate|