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On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons, students who pass by Room 412 at Lancaster High School Career Center can count on one thing – a chorus of blow dryers will be singing out.
The 20 members of Jan Williamson’s senior cosmetology class won’t be talking to each other much and Williamson won’t be lecturing them from an adjacent classroom.
On Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, beginning at 12:15 p.m., the class is all business as students take on clients on a first-come, first-serve basis to sharpen their skills. Before the day is out, most of them will have seen one – and possibly two – customers.
Right now, the conversation is all business and the class work is hands-on.
“A lot of time, one student can teach and show another student better than I can because they communicate on the same wavelength, Williamson said. “That’s OK with me. I encourage that.”
The purpose of client work is two-fold.
It’s not to make money, but to cover that cost of supplies. Prices range from $5 for a shampoo and set up to $30 for a spiral wave.
But more importantly, Williamson said client work helps students prepare for the real world.
The S.C. Board of Cosmetology requires 1,500 hours of classroom training to be licensed. You can only do so much with a mannequin.
One of Wednesday’s clients was Carol Perry.
While Perry had her choice of 20 stylists, she opted for Erica Hunter, and for good reason: Erica, 18, is her granddaughter.
“They do need their practice,” Perry said. “They all do a great job.”
“I just like doing hair,” Erica said.
“She does get a little carried away, sometimes,” Perry said, while smiling at her granddaughter.
Client work also allows some students to come out their shell.
“I had a student who graduated in 2005 recently stop by and tell me that it took almost two years of being out on her own to get comfortable at it,” Williamson said. “She recalled one customer who got upset at her and said she took it personally, got mad and said something right back when she shouldn’t have. She now takes situations like that as constructive criticism to learn from. Once they get out on their own, it will take some of them up to five years to get comfortable.”
One client who is comfortable coming to the class for services in Carolyn Evans.
Price is a factor for Evans, who opts to come to the class for services on Wednesday. That way, she can take advantage of a seniors citizens day, where she paid $10 for two services, including a hair relaxer. Williamson said outside the class, those services would’ve cost Evans up to $60.
If Evans, chooses to leave a tip, she can.
Evans said LHS cosmetology students have done her hair since 1983.
“This gives the girls an opportunity to learn. I don’t mind them practicing on me. I haven’t run across one girl in 19 years that’s been rude and ugly to me. All of them are really nice,” Evans said
“They better be (nice),” Williamson said.
Want to know more?
The senior cosmetology class at Lancaster High School Career Center, 652 Normandy Road, is now accepting clients on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays beginning at 12:15 p.m. on a first-come, first-serve basis. Appointments are not necessary. The career center offer a variety of beauty services, including hair and nail care, make-up and waxing. Services are not available on non-school days. Prices range from $5 to $30. Revenue generated by the class defrays the cost of supplies. Please bring small bills or the exact amount to pay for the services you want.