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Beyond the Classroom



ven before I meet Gila, I am amazed at the creativity and dedication of these teens.

“I always enjoyed doing hair and I wanted to learn proper technique, so I took a haircutting and hairstyling course at the beginning of tenth grade,” explains Gila Wieder from New York. “I really enjoyed it and gained a lot, though the best way to become a great hairstylist is to practice, practice and practice some more, even after the course.

“Taking a basic haircutting and styling course is not so unusual among teens, but most girls don’t take such an extensive course like I did until they are older. I did the course in hour and a half increments at night, usually on Mondays and Wednesdays. Because they were private lessons the schedule was flexible, and I was able do it at my own pace and I didn’t have to worry about peer pressure or who was ahead of me.”

“Do you plan on making a career out of hairstyling and cutting?” I inquire.

“I would definitely want to do it as a side job. Early on in my haircutting journey, I started by offering all my friends and neighbors free haircuts.  Now I started taking on some clients after school, offering them a discounted rate, as a way of gaining experience and breaking into the field. I sometimes even give haircuts in school during recess. It’s just more convenient for them than having to come over to my house after school!”

Miriam P. feels differently and says she doesn’t plan on using her pattern making professionally.

“I would like to use the skill to sew for my kids, iy’h”, she explains. “I’ve already made plenty of patterns that I’ve used to sew, including the tops for two-piece gowns for myself and my mother for my uncle’s wedding, Shabbos clothing for myself and matching outfits for my little sisters. I also made patterns for friends who know how to sew but don’t know how to make patterns.”

Aside from wanting to keep in shape I ask Shelly if she sees herself using her aerobics skills on a practical level at any point in the future. “Aside from exercising for fun, I can see myself possibly giving exercise classes when I’m older,” Shelly muses.

After all is said and done, whether you learn to play an instrument, join a class, learn a specialized skill or anything in between, the girls all agree that anyone can be good at anything as long as they love doing it.

(Excerpted from Teen Pages 63)


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