TEEN ESSAY: Today's students, down the line

Most people think of the Academy Awards as a night to recognize movie stars, producers and directors for their achievements<NO1>throughout the year<NO>. However, for Ysabella Esponda, a well-regarded stylist, this time of year means business, a six-figure business that is.

She is responsible for everything — down to the choice of toenail polish — that Hollywood's A-List will be wearing while parading down the red carpet. Her choices, whether they are good or bad, will be talked about by the media for <NO1>multiple <NO>weeks after the awards, but with her many years of experience and schooling in the fashion industry, Esponda is expected to put together some of the best ensembles of the night.

High ambitions, such as Casa Grande High senior Ysabella Esponda's, often are struck down by a simple, one-page college rejection letter, causing career plans to change and demoralizing the aspiring high school senior. But for Esponda, an early acceptance into the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising has allowed her to become more focused on her dream<NO1> of becoming a red carpet fashion stylist<NO>.

"I've wanted to go to FIDM since eighth grade," Esponda said. "They have majors ranging anywhere from fashion design to interior design, and four campuses: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. I plan on attending the San Francisco campus for a year and then transferring down to L.A."

Unlike most high school seniors who applied to colleges last fall, Esponda applied in 2011 for early admission, partly because of her adviser's encouragement.

In applying to be a merchandising and marketing major, "I had to write an essay, do a project corresponding to the major and get three letters of recommendation," she said.

<NO1>"<NO><NO1>My advise<NO><NO1>r encouraged me to apply early, and at first I wasn'<NO><NO1>t sure because I wanted to make sure that my grades were where they needed to be. I didn'<NO><NO1>t want to apply and not be ready<NO><NO1> and then not get accepted. But then she convinced me that I should apply."<NO><NO1>

<NO>Danielle Walker, Esponda's event-planning teacher and adviser of the fashion club, supported her decision to apply early and recognizes she has worked extremely hard to gain acceptance.

"Bella is extremely dedicated to her career choice," Walker said. "She seems very interested in fashion and is very knowledgeable about the trends in the industry. She is definitely committed to becoming a stylist."

The application process for FIDM went further than many traditional college applications, requiring an interview with an acceptance officer.

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