CNJ staff photo: Liliana Castillo Kristle Ford, 19, said she’s excited for graduation. “I can’t believe I made it,” Ford said.
A year ago, education was not a focus of Kristel Ford’s life.
She said she lacked confidence in her abilities, but with help from school officials, family and friends she turned her academic life around and is one of 338 Clovis High School seniors scheduled to graduate Sunday.
She even plans to go to college.
With salon-quality hair and glitter adorning her eye lids, Ford dreams of studying and practicing cosmetology. She also wants to study psychology and maybe get into social work.
“I just want to help people,” Ford said. “Whether it’s doing their hair or making a difference in their life.”
The 19-year-old Clovis native plans to begin her college career at Clovis Community College, but is unsure of where she would like to finish.
“I’m leaving my options open,” Ford said.
After almost failing out of high school during her junior year, Ford said the changes she’s made were mostly internal.
“I didn’t want to depend on someone else. I wanted to make something of myself,” Ford said.
Guidance counselor Melissa Winn said the transformation had to do with Ford’s opinion of herself.
“She didn’t have a lot of confidence or faith in her abilities,” Winn said. “But with encouragement from those around her, she turned it around. She believes she can do anything now.”
Ford said she sought advice from those around her — a teacher, Winn and others in the guidance office at the school, as well as people she called mentors.
“Anyone older that has experience,” Ford said. “Some friends, my sister. They give me advice and talk to me.”
Through the past year, Ford said the most important lesson she learned was to have a positive outlook.
“I learned not to put myself down too much, not to be negative,” Ford said. “Be positive and hope for the best. Never give up.”
Winn complimented Ford for the hard work she’s put into her education.
“She’s worked her butt off this year,” Winn said. “It’s amazing.”
“I can’t believe I made it,” she said.