“My parents had an eighth grade education,” explains Richards. “So, by the time I was in tenth grade, I had no help at home. I was struggling in math and a lot of my classes at Apollo. I [also] needed to get out and work so I could feed myself and my family. I thought my only chance was at Area [ALC] where I could be taught in a smaller classroom and continue to move forward.”
Richards benefited not only from smaller class sizes but also from the one-on-one time she had with teachers, which allowed her to create meaningful relationships. That personalized time also gave her the opportunity to grasp concepts better and gain a deeper understanding of curriculum. She blossomed under the flexible schedule which allowed her to work, provide income for her family and participate in gymnastics at Apollo.
Richards knew she wanted to become a cosmetologist. After high school graduation, she attended Horst, now known as Aveda Arts and Sciences Institute,
founded by Horst Rechelbacher, an environmental activist and global pioneer in plant-based personal care. While at Horst, students attended “Congress,” an annual fashion show week for students to display their creative hairstyles. At Congress, she was recruited as a mentee to Paul Marquis, an Aveda educator and salon owner. She moved to Colorado to assist Marquis. Continue reading