PINE VALLEY - The idea of helping others has drawn Chantel Abbey, a senior at Pine Valley Jr.-Sr. High School, into the field of cosmetology.
In addition to her general studies at Pine Valley, Chantel is taking career technical education classes at BOCES in Fredonia. She is enrolled in the cosmetology program and is working toward getting her operating license.
"I grew up with an interest in beauty and going down that road (for a career)," she said. "I wanted to look at the (cosmetology) program to see if I would be interested in it, and it was right up my alley. I pretty much fell in love with it. I like the hands on (approach) in helping people feel good about themselves."
Chantel's coursework in the cosmetology program involves taking classes in English, math and science.
"We do writing samples for English (class)," she said. "In our science classes, we learn about different chemicals things like how to mix them properly and what to do if they get on your skin."
In order to obtain her license, Chantel needs to complete 1,000 hours of state-approved coursework as well as pass both the New York state written and practical exams. After receiving her license, Chantel plans to begin her career by either starting her own salon, or working under another practitioner. She hopes to find a job in Chautauqua County but is willing to relocate if necessary.
Chantel is not involved in any extracurricular activities but is an active volunteer in her school and community. She has participated in can drives at Pine Valley, helping to donate and collect cans, and has provided assistance at the district's guidance office.
"Chantel is down here almost every day helping us organize," said Kara Dossey, Chantel's guidance counselor. "She's been a big help to us in the office."
The bulk of her time outside of school is spent working as an Avon representative and caring for her infant daughter.
"I technically have three full-time jobs," said Chantel. "I'm taking a full courseload at BOCES, I'm an Avon representative, and I'm a mom. Right now, I'm mostly focusing on finishing my schooling and raising my daughter. Those are my top priorities."
Currently, Chantel holds an overall grade point average of 90 for her CTE courses at BOCES. She has maintained a GPA in the 80s at Pine Valley.
According to Dossey, Chantel was recommended for this feature because of her tenacity and career drive.
"Chantel was the first person that came to mind," she said. "Her grades are wonderful, she's always volunteering her time and asking us if we need help. She is so admirable and is so focused on finishing at BOCES to get her license and start her career."
She added: "I think (Chantel is) a role model for young people in this community. When we think of success, we usually think of the students that have outstanding grades and want to move on to get their four-year degrees in college. But I think that Chantel embodies (the idea) that you can still be successful without taking that route. She has overcome many challenges, balancing her Avon business along with being a mom, and she has exceeded all of our expectations and maybe even some of hers, as well."
To nominate a student for Standing Out In The Crowd, contact Gavin Paterniti at 487-1111, ext. 243, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.