Carroll career students test their skills on public

February 22, 1993|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Contributing Writer

Every week, as she has done for the past five years, Jean August goes to the Carroll County Career and Technology Center in Westminster to have her hair done.

"I have it washed and set," said the Louisville resident. "I found out about the program through another senior friend. It's wonderful. They're a great bunch of kids and they do very nice work."

The "kids" are the center's cosmetology students who have TC earned enough hours learning theory and practicing on mannequins and each other that they are allowed to work on the public.

Three months ago Mrs. August had a perm done by senior Rick Vincent, the only male in the program, which also is offered at the South Carroll Career and Vocational Center.

Friday, Rick was giving Mrs. August a scalp treatment and trim before setting her hair.

"For the scalp treatment, we shampoo the hair, then massage cholesterol through it, then put it under the dryer for 10 minutes," Rick, 17, explained. "It's great for the hair, but it's mainly to moisturize the scalp and condition the cuticle of the hair."

The intensive program, two years at Westminster and three at South Carroll, teaches the students the skills and knowledge they need to take the state board examination for licensure as an operating cosmetologist, said Jane Dotson, one of Westminster's two instructors.

Students learn basic haircuts, coloring, curling, hair relaxing, perms, nail care, facials and makeup. Instruction includes health as related to hair, face and nails, as well as proper manners in the beauty salon -- which topics can be discussed with customers and which can't.

"They learn everything that's done in the salons," Mrs. Dotson said. "We're very strict with their appearance and attendance -- they must look professional while they're here and they have to put in their 1,500 hours."

At Westminster, the program begins in the junior year, when students learn theory and practice on mannequins.

Once they've accumulated 350 hours, they are allowed to work in the program's clinic, which accepts customers by appointment.

"In their junior year, they spend half the day here and half at their home school," Mrs. Dotson said. "As a senior, they're here all day, every day, which means this group of kids had to get in all their academic credits by their junior year."

At South Carroll, which also takes students from Liberty High, the program starts in the sophomore year and runs through the senior year, said teacher Pat Newcomer.

Together, both programs have about 60 students this year, 35 of them at South Carroll.

"When seniors get 1,000 hours in, they can work on their 1,000-hour letter and work in a salon under the management of a senior cosmetologist," Mrs. Dotson said. "They need 1,500 hours to take the state board examination and get their license."

After working two years, Mrs. Newcomer added, they can take a manager's test to become senior cosmetologist.

The Westminster center has clinic sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and at South Carroll onThursday and Friday during the entire school year.

The Westminster center attracts more than 100 regular customers and South Carroll about 50 patrons. While most customers are senior citizens taking advantage of the major savings, there also are young mothers and their children who come to the schools for hair and nail care.

Prices at South Carroll are $1 for a haircut for seniors and students, $1.25 for others; $7 for perms for senior citizens and $10 for others. Nails are done free. A haircut, shampoo and set at Westminster is a mere $2, perms $7 to $13 and nails 75 cents.

Students also are allowed to accept and keep a tip if the patron wishes to give it.

"I couldn't have my hair done every week before, it was too expensive, but now I can, and it's nice," said Mrs. August. "It really lifts your spirits getting your hair done."

Cheryl DeVilbiss of Finksburg also was in Friday, getting her 5-year-old daughter Jaime's hair cut. The kindergartner had decided to get her long, dark hair cut short.

"I've been bringing her here since she was two," Mrs. DeVilbiss said. "My mother used to be a secretary here, so I knew about the program. I also have a girlfriend who went through the program, and she cuts my husband's hair."

The work on children, young adults and seniors also helps the students prepare for the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America competitions, which start at the local level and work up to the nationals for first- and second-place state winners.

Students can compete for scholarships and other prizes donated by businesses and major corporations. During Saturday's regional competition against several other counties, Rick and 18-year-old senior Stacia McGee represented Carroll County for best all-around cosmetologist.

Stacia won the gold medal. Rick won the silver.

Both students say they hope to go on to be senior cosmetologists and open their own shops some day.

Stacia, who has no plans for college, said the cosmetology program struck her as she looked over the center's offerings.

"It struck me good," she said. "I want to get my own shop -- that's down the road -- and my own Corvette -- electric purple."

Do cosmetologists make that kind of money?

"This one will," she said with a laugh.

Rick has big dreams, too. He hopes to go to New York or California and open a high-tech shop.

"I want to make it big," he said. "I want my own shop, but I want something out of the ordinary."

For anyone interested in patronizing the program, call 795-3112 at South Carroll and 848-5222 at Westminster to make an appointment.

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