Henry E. Lackey High School senior Izaiah Hair is counting down to his upcoming high school graduation. He is a member of the Career Research and Development (CRD) program at Lackey, a group of about 20 students who attend school for a half day and work in the afternoon. Hair stood out among his CRD peers and was named a finalist in the countywide CRD Student of the Year awards program. Last week, he was honored with the title of 2021 CRD Student of the Year.
Each year, only one student enrolled in the CRD program earns the award. Nominees are chosen from among graduating seniors for demonstrating an exemplary work ethic and a commitment to academics. Hair, like the rest of the Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) Class of 2021, is in the final days of classes. During his senior year, he juggled virtual school, applying to colleges and researching scholarships all while working part time at McDonald’s restaurant.
Hair has been working with McDonald’s since last August. He said while working in fast food comes with a lot of responsibilities, he enjoys working in customer service and building relationships with his team members. “Fast food jobs are a lot of work. You get to learn a lot about customer service, but at times you also learn how to deal with angry customers. But it is also good. I enjoy working with my team,” Hair said.
The CRD program provides a bridge from school to work, classroom instruction, work experience and on-the-job training. Prior to working at McDonald’s, Hair held a summer job at a local car dealership. There, he helped to wash and detail cars and had his first professional experiences with customer service.
Hair is an honor-roll student at Lackey and maintains a 3.9 GPA. He is set to graduate in the top 20 percent of the Lackey Class of 2021 and said his senior year has been challenging. “This year in school, I lost my motivation a bit and had to refocus. It was hard to initially focus on getting my work done at home, and I realized I needed to really get my focus in check,” Hair said.
Hair wants to be an oncology nurse and will study nursing at Bowie State University in the fall. “My aunt is an oncology nurse and talked to me about the highs and lows of her job. I love to help people so I thought I would become a nurse, too,” Hair said.
Hair received some scholarships to attend Bowie, and also received a $2,000 scholarship as CRD Student of the Year. He is enrolled in the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program at Lackey. Sean Fox, Lackey AVID program advisor, said Hair is the ideal role model AVID student.
“The AVID program goal is to create well rounded students and Izaiah is the definition of one. While maintaining nearly a 4.0, he has been a member of Student Government, the symphonic band and a member of track and field. While being an active participant in multiple extra-curricular activities, Izaiah is also an employee at a local McDonald’s. Since working there, he has been a dedicated employee who has learned how to successfully communicate with customers,” Fox wrote in a letter of recommendation.
Runners-up for the award were Maurice J. McDonough High School senior Megan Anderson and Westlake High School senior Daniel Richardson. Anderson works at Chick-fil-A and plans to pursue a career in broadcast meteorology after she finishes college. Richardson works at Ledo Pizza and aspires to join the Armed Forces after graduation. As finalists, both Anderson and Richardson receive a $1,000 scholarship.
Student nominees for the CRD award are chosen by their program coordinators. Members of the CRD Program Advisory Committee interview finalists. Staff also receive required portfolio submissions from each finalist.
High school students interested in the CRD program should contact the coordinator at their respective school.