Cosmetology Student of the Year


Since she was a child Alexis had a passion for hair, makeup, and all things beauty. She had always done her own hair as well as her friend’s hair for dances, weddings, and just for something to do. However, for about half of her life she struggled with addiction. From the time Alexis was in high school, she used drugs and alcohol for just about everything…to cope with life, to celebrate things, or just because she felt like it. Alexis excelled in high school and graduated with honors. But when it came time to graduate she still had no idea what she wanted to do with the rest of her life. In the fall Alexis started college. She began to realize how completely unmanageable her life had become. Although Alexis was on the Dean’s List she was barely functioning and drugs and alcohol had totally consumed her life. It was then that Alexis decided to take her first trip to rehab. She came home and stayed clean for a few years. She started to get her life back on track. She was doing hair for her friends again and everyone was telling her that she “needed” to go to school and get her license. Alexis stayed working at her family’s restaurant and began to save money for school. She thought everything was going great. Then, something tragic happened in her life and she relapsed. Alexis lost sight of what she was working for and she could not remain sober. Alexis’ heart was in so much pain she just wanted to feel numb. When she did get clean again a terrible decision from her past came back to haunt her which would change her life forever.

On May 29, 2013 Alexis was arrested by the Federal Government. She went to prison for 18 months. She thought her life was over. She thought this was the absolute worst thing that could ever happen to her. She thought she would never be able to do anything with her life, she would never become a hairstylist, she would never hold a license and now she was going to be a felon. But the reality of all of this was that her life was just about to begin! Alexis knew this was going to be the hardest thing she would ever have to do. She knew she had to get through it or just give up completely and giving up was not an option! Throughout her journey there she met some amazing women who were licensed cosmetologists. They told her that she had “it” and not to give up or let the fact that she was in prison hold her back from going to cosmetology school or getting her license. It just meant that she had to work that much harder than everyone else. While Alexis was there she spent her time doing other women’s hair. Hearing the women tell her “thank you for making me look beautiful” in such a dark place was very humbling.

When she was released, she came home and made a list of goals. The first one was to find a place for school. She decided that she would start school at BOCES. It was one of the best decisions she had ever made! Alexis loved going to class. She tried so hard to maintain good grades and go to class every day. She made some great relationships along the way. She was nervous though that she would not be able to get her license with a felony but said she would continue with it anyways. Alexis was not going to give up. In November 2016, her mom was diagnosed with a rare aggressive form of pancreatic cancer called Adenosquamous Carcinoma. Her heart was broken. She didn’t want to go to school or do anything for that matter. She knew though that this was not what her mom would want so she continued to go to school. She would take her Mom to Dr. appointments and chemo treatments during the day and school at night. Some days were hard but Alexis hoped and prayed it would get better.

In February, she was hired at Cosmoprof as a Sales Associate. It was her first job being hired with a felony and it was such a relief! It was possible to have a job! She finished school in March. Alexis took her boards shortly thereafter and got her license! She had completed her goals! Currently she works at Supercuts as a hair stylist. She has been sober now for 4 years. Eventually she would like to own her own business. She would love to give back to the community by cutting hair in rehabs, jails, or prisons for free. While in prison she had her hair cut and it was expensive and it was more of a luxury and not everyone can afford that. She knew that something like that could really help someone in a difficult time. She hopes that even if she can help one person with a haircut feel better she will have served her purpose. She knows there is hope for her still and she is a work in progress. Alexis knows that she can never give up!