For Victoria Reams, life is beautiful. Actually, life is about making other people look and feel beautiful.
Last week, however, Tori was the one in the spotlight.
She won’t graduate from Phililpsburg-Osceola Senior High School until the end of the week, but the graduation that mattered most to her happened Thursday night. That’s when she got to sit with another group of classmates, the ones who share her goals of starting a career as soon as possible, and cross the stage at the Clearfield County Career and Technology Center.
Tori finishes her high school career with a three-year degree in cosmetology. She also scored something else, being named Outstanding Student of the Year for CCCTC’s Class of 2014.
“She’s very bubbly. Very involved. Very vested in the trade,” said CCCTC Executive Director William Weaver. The honor is not bestowed by the teachers or the administration, but selected by a team of businesspeople who evaluate the students as the future of their industries.
“We’re really excited about her progress,” Weaver said. “It’s not just one piece. She is the whole picture.”
P-O Superintendent Gregg Paladina agreed.
“We are proud of Tori and her accomplishments at the CCCTC. She is an intelligent and skilled young lady. Tori represented our school district well last night,” he said.
A happy girl with a huge, glowing smile, Tori has grown up in salons, watching her mother, Nicole Reams, make art on the end of fingernails. She can’t wait to make people just as beautiful.
“It has always been a passion of mine,” she said, sitting at the nail station at Nails by Nicci, Hair by Pam on Front Street in Philipsburg while her mother chatted with a client getting a gel manicure. “Ever since I was little, it’s always something I’ve been around, something I’ve always wanted to do.”
But she isn’t precisely following in Nicole’s footsteps. Mom is a nail tech, but Tori went for a cosmetology license that lets her pursue several different areas, like hair, massage or esthetics. She knows just what she wants to do, though. Her own interest is in hair, not nails. She will start manning a chair in her mother’s shop as soon as she receives her license this summer.
She is also eager to get a jump on other high school graduates who will spend time in college deciding what they want to do with their lives while she is already doing it.
Her mother couldn’t be prouder of her new employee. Nicole is an involved parent, and has been an OPI nail polish instructor for years, who appreciates the value of a vocational education. So does Tori, who says she isn’t done learning. She wants to keep finding new things with her craft and hasn’t ruled out the idea of time in college. But she knows that if that happens, she will be funding it with a trade she loves instead of student loans.
“It opens up a lot of variety and a lot of opportunity,” Nicole said. “She won’t have to waitress.”
Someday, Tori hopes to have her own shop, maybe somewhere south, like the North Carolina area where her family vacations. She said there will always be a table available for her mom.
But not quite yet. She still has a week of high school, after all.
Lori Falce can be reached at 235-3910. Follow her on Twitter @LoriFalce.