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Work-study program helps student reach for her dreams

Posted on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 6:47 am

Thanks to Fayetteville High School’s work-study program, a local student is a step ahead in realizing her goal of designing her own jewelry and owning her own business.

Kierra Dangerfield, a member of Fayetteville High’s first graduating class this year, is an honor student and a talented artist to boot. When she was given the opportunity to participate in her school’s work-study program, she immediately went to her favorite store in town, Pretty Discoveries in downtown Fayetteville, and asked owner Stephanie Ogle for an opportunity to learn and gain experience.

Kierra Dangerfield, a 2014 Fayetteville High School graduate, presents a painting she created as a parting “thank you” gift to Stephanie Ogle of Pretty Discoveries after the student completed a work-study program during her senior year. Kierra has dreams of creating her own line of jewelry and owning her own business one day and takes inspiration from her mentor, Stephanie. ~ Staff photo by Sandy Williams

Kierra Dangerfield, a 2014 Fayetteville High School graduate, presents a painting she created as a parting “thank you” gift to Stephanie Ogle of Pretty Discoveries after the student completed a work-study program during her senior year.  ~ Staff photo by Sandy Williams

“Kierra came in and asked if she could come here and do it (the work-study program),” said Stephanie, who owns and operates Pretty Discoveries. “She said she wanted to do her own jewelry.”

Kierra has been an art student under Jennie Roles-Walter at FHS for her entire high school career and decided to combine her love of art with her love for jewelry.

“I want to start my own business and design my own jewelry,” said Kierra, who plans to attend Austin Peay State University in the fall and major in business management. “I want to sell my own jewelry and purses.”

Not only has Stephanie served as a mentor for Kierra, but also as an inspiration as a successful female, small business owner.

“It’s exciting,” Kierra said of her experience working with Pretty Discoveries. “I’ve learned what it takes to start a business and run a business, how to price and set margins. I love seeing the jewelry and all the pretty stuff.”

And, there is no shortage of pretty things to find in the Fayetteville store. In fact, Pretty Discoveries has now expanded to a second location in the historical Hammers Building in downtown Winchester.

“The store (in Winchester) is two and a half times bigger than this one,” Stephanie said. “We will have more just by sheer volume.”

Customers can find boutique store items in both locations, everything from purses, scarves and blingy flip flops to jewelry, accessories and more.

With experience at Pretty Discoveries under her belt, Kierra has already developed a business plan in hopes of establishing her own business one day. As a parting “thank you” gift on her last day at Pretty Discoveries, Kierra presented Stephanie with a beautiful piece of art she created herself. That art is hanging in the Fayetteville store.

Kierra and Stephanie agree that participating in the work-study program this year has been a “win-win” for both.

“FHS believes that the senior year should prepare students for the very important transition from high school to higher education, employment or military service by providing opportunities for seniors to take greater responsibility for their learning and time management,” Andrea Brewer, FHS’s college and career counselor, said of the work-study program. “This course is designed to address the needs and interests of seniors as they prepare for the next steps after graduation.

“The course emphasizes the college process, self-assessment and self-direction, career exploration, current issues, team building, independent living and service learning,” she added. “Students explore areas of interests and have exposure to speakers and readings on various issues. Course topics include interviewing skills, career exploration, problem-solving and decision-making, stress and time management and topics of current interest.”

While Stephanie remains busy operating two locations of Pretty Discoveries and continuing to feature her items at special events, Kierra hasn’t slowed down either. During her senior year, she juggled her jobs at McDonalds and Pretty Discoveries with dual enrollment classes at Fayetteville High and Motlow. She graduated in the top 15 percent and earned the U.S. Marine Corps Scholastic Excellence Award, a $6,000, four-year renewable Hope Scholarship, $500 Mt. Olive Church Scholarship and $900 Tennessee Dual Enrollment Grant. She was also a National Honor Society member and served on the Student Council.

Kierra is the daughter of Michele Dangerfield and granddaughter of William Dangerfield and Emma Dangerfield of Fayetteville.