All in the Family – Student Attends Empire 40 years after Grandmother

by Jess Quandel

Sometimes, it’s just in your blood. Empire Beauty School student Cara Higgins is just 12 weeks in to the cosmetology program at our Harrisburg, Pennsylvania campus and already knows it was the perfect choice for her.

“I am excited to come to school each day.” says Cara. “I love it here. I’ve made a ton of friends and Empire is a safe place for me to be.” Which is important to this self-proclaimed homebody, after a rough few years in high school.

“I was bullied in high school.” says Cara. “It was very difficult. I struggled a lot, but there was always one place I felt secure during that time. My grandmother’s beauty shop.”

Linda Higgins, Cara’s grandmother, opened her salon in the early 1980’s. A graduate of Empire Beauty School’s educator program, she taught classes for the school system for years.

“Empire is family to me.” says Linda. “My experience as a student and an educator at Empire was wonderful.”

And for Cara, her grandmother’s love of the beauty industry, felt like a warm blanket. “I would go to the salon after school and just watch the connections my grandmother made with people. They were smiling and talking and laughing, and it was a great feeling to be around.”

So when Cara approached her grandmother about an interest in beauty school, Linda knew exactly where to go.

“We took the tour of the campus, and I knew within 15 minutes of being there this was the place for Cara. She just lit up.”

Originally enrolled in a college graphic design program, Cara opened up to her grandmother right before classes started. “She said she wished she would have enrolled in beauty school instead. I told her it wasn’t too late to change her path.”

Now, 3 months in to the program, Cara hasn’t missed a day of school, and is exploring future options as a beauty professional.

“I am really interested in learning more about barbering. I also love skin care. My mom works in the skin care industry and I really enjoy that side of beauty. I am just enjoying my time at Empire, learning all I can about cosmetology and the opportunities it brings.”

As for Linda, a fresh connection with Empire Beauty School has brought back a lot of great memories.

“I got out these old photographs to show Cara and the current staff at Empire. I just wanted to share what a special experience I had and to let them know I believe in what they do for young future professionals.”

And while her shop closed a few years ago, Linda says she still has solid advice for her granddaughter.

“I tell her she has a bright future, and a big support system. I tell her to stay focused, take care of her body, and learn to listen to your clients. I know she’ll make a great cosmetologist.”

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November 15, 2019

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