NPHS graduates pursue unique pathways

Some members of Newbury Park’s Class of 2024 are electing to pursue alternative career options. Straying from the traditional path, these graduates plan to attend different forms of secondary education.

Gracie Williams/With Permission

An avid member of the dance team, Gracie Williams, senior, plans to attend Paul Mitchell cosmetology school in Sherman Oaks to become a hairdresser. She credits her inspiration to her friend’s mother, who taught her many techniques. “My friend’s mom taught me a couple of things with mannequins […]  just like styling mostly,” Williams said.

Williams is eager to get out into the workforce and show what she knows. Haircutting is her passion and she has decided to pursue it further as her career. “I’m ready to go out there and just do it, right away, now.” Williams said, “I don’t need to really go to a four year.” The Paul Mitchell school has an 11-month program to prepare its students for the state board examination to become a licensed hairdresser.

Beginning in September, Williams will first attend two weeks of online training to prepare for the cosmetology school salon experience. “We start the hands-on process of working with hair and practicing after,” Williams said, gearing up for the test to get her certificate. 

After graduating, Williams hopes to become a hairdressing assistant, and later a hairdresser of her own. She is excited at the opportunities this pathway gives her to be her own boss and control her own schedule. Although she enjoys Ventura County, Williams plans on moving out of state to continue her career once she has established herself as a hairdresser.

Elyse Grant, senior and varsity track and cross country runner, plans to attend Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona, to pursue a career as a commercial pilot. Grant has been learning how to fly planes since last year and is excited to continue at a unique college. Embry Riddle, unlike other universities, focuses mainly on the education of students interested in aviation. “There are other majors there, like business and engineering, but most of them focus towards aviation and aerospace, for example, people who want to be astronauts could go there,” Grant said. 

Grant also remarks that “It is different to other colleges in the fact that they actually have a runway on campus,” Grant said. 

After graduating from Embry Riddle’s Flight School, Grant hopes to work on a commercial airline, like Southwest or United Airlines. With the end in mind, Grant works every day to become a better pilot, despite the challenges. “There is a lot of turbulence where we just kind of shake up and down in the air, I like roller coasters so it’s not that bad,” Grant said. 

In addition to the physical challenges of learning how to fly a plane, learning how to balance school, sports and a time-consuming career has its own set of ups and downs. “[The flight school training] has been pretty hard especially since I am a fulltime student and athlete,” Grant said.

Grant, although originally inspired by her mom to become a Pilot, has found her position and job to be very special. “I was also inspired by the fact that there are not a lot of female pilots and I feel like it would be an inspiration to a lot of younger girls,” Grant said.