When you walk into a Cosmetology class at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, you’ll notice that instead of desks and computers, students will be using scissors and blow dryers to complete some of their assignments.
The Cosmetology courses at HCISD are designed for students interested in a career in Cosmetology and Business. The goal of the course is to act as a stepping-stone into a career, and offer educational opportunities to students.
“There are so many things they can do in this field,” said Rachel Zuniga, HCISD cosmetology instructor. “It’s experience they can apply to the real world, or use to work while going to college. We’ve seen former students go into teaching, nursing and salon management.”
Available to students at Harlingen High School, Harlingen High School South and KEYS Academy, the courses are part of a series of three levels. As students progress through the series, they will develop the skills necessary to succeed in business and cosmetology.
“There is always something new,” said Julissa Castaneda, junior at HHS. “ You’re getting better and learning more as the year goes.”
The classes are held in an environment that reflects a full service salon. The HCISD Cosmetology Building, located on 207 E. Jackson, is open to the public during regular school hours. This allows students, who have completed the introductory course, to work with real clients, and gain hands on experience. These services can include anything from haircuts to highlights, but the students take it as their responsibility to ensure that all clients leave with their desired look.
“You are constantly learning how to work with the clients, and understanding how to meet their needs,” said Damaris Tovar, senior at HHS. “It’s fun to interact and talk with them, and experience what it’s like to be a part of a business.”
It’s not unusual to see students working on their own classmates, said Stephanie Mendoza, a junior at KEYS. Students that come into the salon regularly tend to share their positive experience and encourage others to do the same.
In addition to the hands-on portion of the course, students are constantly working to gain a wide knowledge in the Cosmetology guidelines for Texas. With their textbook and hands-on knowledge, students are required to complete 1,000 service hours.
Once they complete these hours, students are eligible to take the state certification exams. This is part of the process for students to receive their cosmetology license.
The number hours may seem intimidating, but for those students who have already made cosmetology their career choice, it is just one step to reach their ultimate goal.
“My goal is to open my own salon,” said Tovar. “I want to go to college for business, and stay in this field. I enjoy making people happy.”