by NICOLE LOPEZ//Sports Editor
It is rare to get to see a college grow from the beginning.
But for Sarah Thompson, instructor in cosmetology, her and her family has been part of South Plains College from the start.
Thompson and her family have SPC running through their veins. Thompson’s parents, James and Sycily Lattimore, built their first home on Linda Lane, the first street past the college to the south.
“SPC used to be just a pasture,” recalls Thompson. “Whenever they built that home, College Avenue was just a dirt road.”
Her mom was a faculty member at SPC for more than 30 years, and her dad provided most of the trees that are on the campus.
“My dad had a tree nursery, so I helped him plant a lot of the trees we have around the campus,” recalls Thompson. “I spent every waking moment on the campus. When my mom first became a faculty member, we would have Christmas parties, and I knew everyone. I called everyone by their first names. We were all a family.”
Thompson has lived in Levelland all her life. She went through grade school up until she graduated from Levelland High School. She also married her high school sweetheart and has been in town ever since.
However, Thompson’s initial profession was not cosmetology. She had another career choice in mind.
“In high school, I thought I was going to go into veterinary medicine,” recalls Thompson. “But when my dad got sick while I was in high school, I wanted to stay home and help take care of him. I then chose instead of doing the science and the math, I already went ahead and did cosmetology. That way I can go ahead and work my way through college, or be here to help with him.”
Thompson graduated from high school when she was 17 years old and received her cosmetology license before graduating. She attended SPC in the fall of 1978 through 1982, taking night classes for her basics and business courses.
“After I had family and whenever I had my parents to take care of, I decided to own two salon shops,” says Thompson. “I had one shop called the Clipper. I worked my first year for a lady who was a wonderful mentor to me. After I worked for her for a year, another lady and I went into partnership, which was the Clipper. The first year that I worked at the Clipper, I was trained in electrolysis, which is permanent hair removal. I sold the Clipper, and I had that one for 14 years.”
Thompson needed a little more privacy for her clients, which is why she bought another shop named Shear Imagination. She has owned Shear Imagination for 37 years.
During the time Thompson owned the Clipper, she decided to pursue her instructor’s course in cosmetology. She finished her instructor’s license in 2002. She was a part-time instructor in 2003, then got a full-time job at SPC in August of 2006.
Thompson says that she loves everything about her job. She says cosmetology is a wonderful profession, and it’s a great way to raise her family and take care of loved ones.
“There is nothing better than someone coming in after they’ve had a bad day and you give them a new hairstyle, or a manicure, or a pedicure, or a facial,” explains Thompson. “You can see all that weight being lifted off of them. It’s very rewarding. It’s very one-on-one, so you build that relationship with those clients. I got clients that I’ve been seeing for 40 years.”
Thompson and her family have dedicated most of their life to SPC. Her husband is also an alum, as are her two daughters. Her granddaughters are also alumni, with another granddaughter on the way who is sure to follow in the tradition of attending SPC.
“I have three siblings, and they all have gone to SPC and graduated,” Thompson said. “My sister is still a faculty member, and she teaches accounting. I have nearly seen SPC grow for 60 years. I feel my family and I bleed orange and blue.”
Thompson also is a proud member of the SPC Foundation Board and the Scholarship Committee. She teaches yoga at the SPC PE complex on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She also loves being with family, swimming, animals and being outdoors.
“I would like to challenge all SPC alumni to donate to SPC and share the joy of education,” says Thompson.