- 1 of 1 Photos | View More Photos
Editor's note: This is the seventh of 10 personality stories on the top 10 academic students in the Loudonville High School Class of 2017.
"It was all my idea," Elizabeth Henley said of her decision to enroll in the cosmetology program at the Ashland County-West Holmes Career Center, rather than pursue the traditional college prep curriculum at Loudonville High School.
"I thought about working in cosmetology while in college, but I have learned since that I won't have time to do that. So I will, as I have been since last fall, do the hair of friends and family when I can. But cosmetology will always be there as a backup plan."
Henley, the fourth of six children of Chuck and Rita Henley of rural Loudonville, is one of the top 10 academic students in the LHS Class of 2017, carrying an academic average above 3.7.
She plans to attend The Bradford School in Columbus, studying in that two-year institution to become a physical therapy assistant.
She chose that field because of the way she was impressed by the work of physical therapy assistants after she "blew my knee out playing soccer in the winter of my junior year. I talked with my therapist, asking what he did in his position, and became very impressed, because I like to help people. I decided that was the field I wanted to go into."
She looked at three Ohio colleges that offer physical therapy assistant programs, Bradford, North Central State College in Mansfield and Hocking Tech.
"My oldest sister, Lauren Davis, and her family, live in Columbus, and I didn't want to go to school so close that I had to stay at home, so I selected Bradford," Henley said. "Plus I was impressed with the program and the campus at Bradford, very nice but very tiny, on the northeast side of Columbus."
Henley's education at Loudonville has been different from most students.
"My mom home schooled me until the eighth grade, and in eighth through 10th grades, I took some classes at Loudonville High, and the rest online," Henley said. "Then during my sophomore year, we had a visitation day at the Career Center. I was impressed with the cosmetology program, feeling that it matched me very well as I am very much a hands-on person. And I liked the idea that I will graduate from high school with a license, so I can go to work as a cosmetologist if I want to.
"I like the classes at the Career Center, with the cosmetology classes taught by Molly Shea," Henley said. "As juniors, we learned the basics of hair care, and this year we started seeing clients, doing cuts, colors, perms, gaining real-world experience. Last fall at homecoming I had a whole bunch of friends who came to me for up-dos. This has been a really good experience for me, but I know I don't want to do it the rest of my life."
A difficulty for her at the Career Center "is keeping up with sports, and missing seeing my friends back in Loudonville. But I have also made lots of new friends here."
She has played soccer for the Redbird girls for three seasons, and this year she is running track, the 4 x 400 and 4 x 800 relays, and the 800 run. "I like distance running the best," she said.
When she is not at school or involved in sports, she enjoys working with her dad on their small farm just outside of Loudonville.
"I showed hogs in the Loudonville Livestock Club," she said.
She also enjoys her summer work for Mohican Adventures and is looking forward to returning to the campground office this summer.
Her siblings include Davis of Columbus, now a stay-at-home mom who works part time as an English teacher for Chinese students in an online school; Twila Soles of Colorado, who owns her own business, making gluten-free malt for beer; Will, a recent LHS grad now working at Truax Printing in Loudonville; and younger brothers Joe, a sophomore at LHS; and James, a sixth grader.
A highlight of her senior year has been hosting a foreign exchange student from Brazil.
"Gabi, (Gabriela Cristofani) has become a part of our family and I look forward to visiting her in Brazil some day," Henley said.
She attends St. Peter Catholic Church, and is involved in the youth group at the Perrysville Baptist Church.
Asked if she studied a lot, she admitted most of her courses come easy to her, "particularly math and English. I only have one B on my school transcript, in American government, a class I really dropped the ball in. I have to study harder for some classes, like history, sciences, and pre-calculus."
Math has been her favorite subject so far.