Student Turns Instructor with Satisfying Results
Amanda Palacios has always had the passion to be a cosmetologist. She grew up watching her mother do hair. “I had a child when I was a teenager,” she said. “I never had the courage to come back to school.”
However, her grandfather encouraged her to enroll and was very supportive when Amanda started at A-B Tech. She found that college life agreed with her. She was a successful student, earning a 3.9 GPA and being named to the President’s List. “After I earned my associate degree, I was asked to come back and earn my teaching degree,” she said.
Amanda enrolled in the Cosmetology Instructor certificate program so she could teach classes shortly after she earned her cosmetology license. “This is perfect and I remember so much from class,” she said. “I feel like I am able to help the students and bring something needed to the table.”
With her vivid, violet locks, she walks around the lab, smiling and offering advice and encouragement to each of the students, while remembering she was in the same position just a few, short years ago. “I love when you see someone learn,” Amanda said. “When they come and say ‘you encouraged me and I passed the test because of you. I love the feeling of going and helping someone. I like the camaraderie between them as a whole.”
Amanda said she wants to be sure to give the encouragement she received from her instructors, Tambra Luppino and Doreen Campbell. “I want to give to the students what A-B Tech gave to me. I’m not just a cosmetologist with a job. I have a career.”
“While in our program, Amanda showed such a passion for cosmetology,” said Luppino, Chair of Spa Therapies and Operations. “She never missed an opportunity to express how grateful she was to be a part of our program. She was respected by her peers and she was the first lend a hand to help any classmate. I felt that she had the qualities of a great instructor due to her passion and willingness to share her knowledge with others.”
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to be a college-educated woman,” Amanda said. She talks about the horrific obstacles she overcame including homelessness and abuse, to get where she is today. “It was in 2012 when I started at Ground Zero in the Bailey Building. I had to take a lot of developmental classes before I could start on my program. It doesn’t matter how you start, it’s how you finish.”
Amanda’s grandfather, who encouraged her in the beginning, has since passed on, but she carries his pride with her. She has three children and three grandchildren of her own. Her children and mother are proud of her accomplishments, as well.
“At A-B Tech, we don’t just teach to pass the state board; we teach how to be strong stylists. Never stop learning even after you leave. I wasn’t taught just how to pass, but I gained skills. My favorite saying is I don't really work; I just get to play with hair and teach others to so the same. When you do what you love, you never work a day in your life."