Eagle’s About Hair is about new educational possibilities
EAGLE — Today Jill Suarez is the successful owner of About Hair in Eagle. She is a Best of Vail honoree who is often called into service to style brides and their attendants on wedding days. But despite the triumphs in her current position, she vividly remembers what it felt like to struggle in a situation where she felt like a flop.
“I was failing out of high school. I hardly ever went,” Suarez said.
Her checkered attendance history resulted in a special meeting with her high school guidance counselor who suggested Suarez try vocational education. At first, she had misgivings about that idea, but ultimately Suarez enrolled in a culinary arts program. That decision changed the course of her life. For the first time, Suarez found herself engaged with her coursework and that led to success in school.
“After that experience I decided I should pursue a vocation I could embrace totally,” she said. She found that career in cosmetology.
“I feel blessed and excited that I get to do this career,” Suarez said, “and I have always had the dream to start a program for young people in the valley because vocational education affected my life in such a positive way.”
Realizing the dream
Beginning after the first of the year, Suarez is putting her dream into action. She has teamed with Audrey Carson at Higher Elevations Healing Arts school in downtown Eagle to offer cosmetology course work. Her inaugural classes will start Jan. 11.
The Colorado Office of Barber and Cosmetology Licensure regulates individuals who practice in the state as barbers, cosmetologists, hairstylists, estheticians and nail technicians. Licensing for these occupations is mandatory in Colorado. Suarez said she has developed an 1,800-hour training program that will prepare students for their state exams.
“We will cover everything from skin care to manicures to haircuts and coloring,” Suarez said. “It is a comprehensive curriculum.”
Suarez floated her school idea during a recent high school career fair. At that event, 90 students indicated they wanted more information.
“The amount of interest coming from the students was amazing,” she said. “Not all of our kids are going to a four-year college. We want to celebrate that diversity.”
For the price of a car …
In these days when obtaining a college education is such a pricey proposition, Suarez believes career training is a great alternative.
“With this new program, for the price of a car, kids can get a career education.”
Suarez’ own high school experience and her enthusiasm for her chosen career make her a great ambassador for vocational education in general and cosmetology in particular.
“It’s a great program and a great vocation to be in,” Suarez said.
To learn more about the program or to find out how to enroll, contact Higher Elevations Healing Arts at 970-401-3994. Suarez can be reached at 970-471-3989.
The greater community is invited to join a Celebration of Pepi’s Life on Friday, Sept. 20, at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater.