Alumni & Friends
Ashley Hulbert was that little girl. The one always styling her dolls’ hair and stating she wanted to be a professional hair stylist when she grew up. When Ashley was in ninth grade at Lecanto High School, she met with a recruiter from Withlacoochee Technical College (WTC). She asked what she needed to do to be able attend the Cosmetology program at the technical school while she was still in high school. Plan, said the recruiter. Plan your schedule carefully with help from your guidance counselor. Get your graduation-required credits done before the start of senior year, have excellent attendance, stay out of trouble, and keep your grades up.
Ashley planned. She worked hard to position herself to take advantage of the free tuition WTC offers to local high school students. She completed her academic credits, kept up her attendance, and stayed out of trouble. It all paid off when, on the first day of her senior year, Ashley was at WTC enrolled in the Cosmetology program. Her journey into her dream career had started. Over the next 10 months, Ashley spent the entire school day at WTC, learning theory and practicing hands-on skills in both the classroom and the school’s on-site salon. Her tuition was free as were her textbooks and a basic student hairstyling kit.
By July 2014, less than two months after Ashley graduated from Lecanto High School, she had completed the program and taken her state licensure examination. By the time she turned 18, Ashley had a high school diploma, professional trade training, a license, and was ready to go to work in the field. She was immediately employed and has been continuously ever since.
Ashley credits her education at WTC with exposing her to a wide variety of experiences in the field of cosmetology that she puts to use today. The school provided her with a well-rounded education, she says. Her experienced instructors supported her and encouraged her to not give up and to remain dedicated to her vision for herself, and to practice skills until she mastered them. From this, Ashley learned the value of persistence when faced with difficulty. This positive lesson came back to her when she faced typical difficulties working in the field as a new stylist and helped her to overcome those brief setbacks. Now just 21 years old, Ashley has opened her own salon with a business partner. LA Salon in Dunnellon opened in January 2018 and is a full-service salon.
In her free time, Ashley enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, relaxing, fishing, and keeping up with her professional education and staying on top of emerging trends in her trade.
Thanks to the availability of a dual enrollment program, Ashley was able to obtain professional career training as a high school student for a cost next to zero. She supports herself financially and is an entrepreneur. Ashley’s advice to young people about seeking a career education is straightforward: “It’s good to have a trade. You can be professionally employed right of out of high school.” In-depth training from experienced professionals at minimal cost. Does it get any better than that?