Armstrong woman earns beauty school diploma at 58

"Donna Kennedy wasn't about to let her age stop her from achieving a goal.

The 58-year-old Templeton woman was determined, along with her much younger classmates, to become a cosmetologist.

"It's strange being in a group of young women when I'm old enough to be their grandmother or to be their mother," Kennedy said.

The new career begins soon, as Kennedy graduated Monday from the Kittanning Beauty School with the required 1,250 hours of training in cosmetology — hair, nails and makeup. She will have to pass her boards exam to become a licensed cosmetologist.

School director Tina Shick said Kennedy "was very determined to finish the hours."

"Most of our students are in their 20s or 30s," Shick said.

During yesterday's ceremony, Shick told Kennedy that she fit in with her classmates and had a personal flair in all of her work.

"I'm very proud of you," Shick said. "Do not ever let your age stop you from reaching whatever goal it is you want."

In attendance were Kennedy's classmates, her husband, two children, grandchildren and other family members.

Doug Kennedy said he was proud of his wife for meeting a goal.

"In my opinion, it does her a world of good," he said. "She wanted to do something different for herself, which we were all in favor of."

Doug Kennedy recalled years of moving around with his wife and children while he served in the military, which made it difficult for Donna Kennedy to have a stable career, he said.

"She was pretty much a stay-at-home mom," he said.

However, Donna Kennedy did work with the federal government and in a sewing factory on military bases before the children came along. Once the children were grown, she said she felt ready for a career.

"It's time for mum to do something," she said.

After enrolling in Kittanning Beauty School in April 2010, Kennedy had to take a few months off to help her daughter through some medical issues. Once her daughter was back in good health, Kennedy dove right into her studies.

"This is something that I've always wanted to do and I said 'Why not?' " Kennedy said. "Don't let your age prevent you from doing anything."

This article was first published on pittsburghlive.com.