PALM DESERT, Calif. — Some dreams are postponed due to COVID-19, but one teenager is making money moves.
Her dream started in a salon when she was little. Back then, Chevelle Williams — now a high school senior — would crawl on her dad's lap during his haircuts.
“Well, I’ve always wanted to do cosmetology from when I was really little,” said Williams.
All these years later, her dad is still helping her inch closer to her goal.
All her beauty school classes are virtual, so Williams found creative ways to practice. She uses her own head as well as a mannequin head affectionately named "Debra." Her sister also serves as a model, and even her dad has become a reluctant test subject.
“I had been starting to practice cutting hair on my dad for a long time now, a little bit before I started the program. My sister loves when I do anything to her so she has a lot of fun with that,” said Williams.
Few are as dedicated as Williams. In fact, more than half the students at the Elite Cosmetology school have dropped out or postponed their classes.
The school’s co-owner Maurice Divirgilio, a veteran, was stationed at 29 Palms Military Base in the 1980s. When he saw the chance to come back and open a school in the area, he uprooted his whole life. Now his school and salon are teetering on the edge.
Each day his business partner, Jodi Hussey, fields calls from bill collectors. Yet somehow, he feels the worst is past.
“I am definitely seeing a less congested path, yes. I am definitely seeing — you laugh — I am definitely seeing… I think it’s going to get better. I mean, it can only get better,” said Divirgilio.
Meanwhile, Williams has already secured some future clients, but lockdown orders keep stalling her state board exam. On its website, the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology writes:
“Due to the ongoing COVID crisis in California the implementation of the new [National Interstate Council of State Boards of Cosmetology] Practical exams will be postponed until July 1, 2021.”
It’s a setback, but Williams has plenty of hair to keep her busy right at home. She started taking cosmetology classes right after her junior year of high school. She is still getting her high school diploma while preparing to get her license.