Local professionals started higher education in Ashland

April 29, 2018

     Ashland Community and Technical College continues its 80th anniversary celebration by honoring local professionals who attended ACTC’s predecessors.
For the past 27 years, Greg Ray has been a part of the Ashland Fire Department, beginning as a firefighter, then to engineer, captain, battalion chief, deputy chief. Ray finally reached his goal of fire chief in August of 2017.
     “My family has always been involved with the fire department,” Ray said. “Grandfathers, great uncles, cousins, all in the fire department over the years.”
     But before Ray began a career in public service, he was a student at Ashland Community College.
     He graduated from Paul G. Blazer High School in 1977 and enrolled at the college. He earned his Associate of Applied Science in 1979.
     Ray said he chose the college because of its location and affordability.
     “At the time I had to put myself through college,” he said. “So I worked locally and got my basic classes in at ACC at the time. I always knew I was going to transfer to Marshall, which allowed me to still work locally and commute back and forth daily.”
     During his time at Marshall, Ray married and started a family, putting his education on hold for a few years. He graduated in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
     Ray said he worked in sales and management for a while, but eventually heard the call of the fire department. He was hired on in 1991.
     “I’ve had the chance in my career now to go back to ACTC and get my associates in fire safety,” Ray said. “A lot of people who are already in their careers could go back and finish a degree because the college is right here in our city. Being here locally and having to work full-time and go to college at the same time, it made it convenient.”
     Ray said, looking back on his college experience, he is glad he chose his hometown community college.
     “I’m sure if I had moved away from home, and on my own, it would have been harder to work and do my college studies both,” he said. “It allowed me to get my feet wet before jumping into a larger university.”
     Katie Cornwell Fellure also got her education at an ACTC predecessor. After graduating from Boyd County High School in 1976, she enrolled at Ashland Area Vocational School.
     “After talking with seasoned hairdressers, I learned that the education I would receive at ACTC would fulfill my educational needs and direct me in the first steps of my long-term career.”
     Fellure completed the vocational school’s cosmetology program in 1978 and continued on her path to earning her Master Cosmetology degree.
     “On completion of beauty school, I began my apprenticeship at a salon which was owned by an instructor at Ashland Area Vocational School,” she said. “During this time I learned many valuable skills from master stylists and mentors and achieved my Master Cosmologist degree.”
Fellure worked in salons for 10 year before opening her own business, Feluchees Hair Salon, in 1987. The salon is located at 808 Blackburn Ave., Ashland, and Fellure said she proudly employs several ACTC graduates.
     Fellure said attending Ashland Area Vocational School prepared her for achieving her dream of becoming a Master Cosmetologist, and believes ACTC is an important part of the community.
     “My instructors were wonderful. They not only taught me all the basic skills of cosmetology but also how to work with the public and provide excellent customer service,” she said. “Most importantly, I gained lifelong friendships and clientele. The instruction ACTC provides is very much essential to our community. Not everyone in the beginning of their careers choose to go away. ACTC feeds skilled employees with diverse educational backgrounds back into our community.”