SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Some Seminole County high school students are mastering the skills of barbering and cosmetology. According to cosmetology teacher Portia Simpson, what started as a one-semester program nearly a decade ago is now a four-year program with a waitlist.
“One of the things I tell parents when we have an open house, at the end of the day, whether your student is a cosmetologist or a barber or a nail tech, or a makeup specialist, they’ll still have the skills to be able to wash their hair correctly, to be able to color their hair correctly, then be able to cut their hair, to be able to color grandma’s hair,” said Simpson.
Both barbering and cosmetology students start with learning the concepts through textbooks, then move on to working on mannequins before styling real people. Finley Enghardt is a junior in the barbering program.
“I just thought it was interesting. I just enjoy it. I enjoy the teacher. I just enjoy everything about it,” he said. “Whenever I have a free period I come in here to help her out, cut hair, do whatever I can.”
Olivia Quinoes is a senior studying cosmetology, where students are working on getting their nail licenses.
“Once I saw that Lake Howell had a cosmetology program, I was really interested in doing it and learning more in-depth the concepts of doing it and the history behind it as well,” she said. “I can use that nail license and have a job while I’m in college and I feel like it’s a great start into the cosmetology world basically.”
Simpson tells News 6 that she not only teaches but also keeps an active license working in a salon. She says that gives her the ability to give students real-world insight.
“We also talk about life skills. I tell them you get what you give. We talk about the ole golden rule, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. I tell them that you know because, in the universe, that’s how it goes. What goes around, comes around. So when you put out positive energy you get it in return. Real-world experience. I tell them how much everything costs. I tell them about booth rental you know versus going someplace to work,” Simpson said.
Simpson says she loves mentoring her students, something Enghardt is thankful for.
“I would say be grateful for your teachers because if it wasn’t for them, you wouldn’t be able to do whatever you’re doing,” he said.
To learn more about career and technical education opportunities in Seminole County Public Schools, visit the school district’s website.
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