Hair stylist says Technical High School gave her a jump-start
Megan Kerns says she liked the fact classes were smaller and felt like teachers really cared about students' grades and success
Megan Kerns, left, a stylist at Simplicity Salon and Spa in Hagerstown, is a 2008 Washington County Technical High School graduate. Megan is styling the hair of Michelle Franko of Keedysville. (By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer)
She passed the Maryland State Cosmetology Boards before graduating in 2008 from Tech High's Cosmetology program. Now she's a hair designer at Simplicity Salon and Spa on Pennsylvania Avenue — the same salon where she worked as a shampoo assistant.
Kerns said she knew she wanted to study cosmetology and be certified by the time she graduated from high school.
At Tech High, "I was already getting a jump-start on what I wanted to do," said Kerns, 20, of Williamsport.
"I was two years up on other people that stayed behind to be with their friends. I can't say enough good things about Tech," she said.
She said students can attend their home school prom and/or the one at Tech High, and the same option is available for graduation.
She said she continued cheerleading for Williamsport High School, but "I graduated from Tech because at that point, I felt like that was my school."
Kerns said she liked the fact classes were smaller at Tech High and felt like the teachers really cared about their students' grades and success.
One of her concerns was that she wouldn't meet new people, but once she got there, she realized all the students were "in the same boat."
Kerns said she has been a full-time stylist for about a year, working with Jessica Schaeffer, a 2001 Tech High cosmetology grad, as her mentor.
Kerns said that when she was a newly licensed cosmetology graduate, she had a good foundation in the basics and some hands-on experience, but there was much more to learn. She said continuing education is important because the field is always changing.
Kerns has been selected to go to New York for training to become a Redken certified colorist, a specialized program that will require a lot of studying and the ability to pass a three-part test.
Kerns said it takes a couple of years to build up a client base. She has reached a point where she has clients pre-booking appointments.
Jessica Crawford Schaeffer of Clear Spring has been a key to Kerns' success at the salon.
Schaeffer started working at Sagittarius Salon & Spa in Hagerstown when she was 16. She worked there for three years after high school graduation as an assistant, then joined the staff at Simplicity when the salon opened about four years ago. Now she's a senior cosmetologist.
Schaeffer, 27, said it was not a hard decision to attend Tech High, because she knew what she wanted to do and had the drive to make it happen. She said she owned her own house when she was four years out of high school.
"It was the best choice I made for myself to better myself. I tell people to go there all the time, even if they're not sure," Schaeffer said.
She said she didn't feel like she missed out on anything at her home school. True friends will still be your friends whether you attend the same school, she said.
Now that Kerns is working on her own at the salon, Schaeffer has several Tech High students who shadow her twice a month.
"Your future is right before you. You've got to make it what you want it to be," Schaeffer said.