AUSTIN, Texas - Manor Senior High School is giving students the opportunity to become hairstylists or nail technicians by the time they graduate through its cosmetology program.
Now, the on-campus salon is open to the public so students can get the practice they need and clients can get a great deal.
"I have this thing that I do. I say, when we're in the theory room, we're learning the knowledge part. And, when we're in the salon, we're the skills - which is the hands-on part," cosmetology teacher Nicole Mercadel said.
Mercadel is one of two teachers in the program that started two years ago. The program gives students the chance to begin working toward the 1000 hours needed to take the state exam and become licensed cosmetologists.
"I love doing nails. I love doing manicures, I love doing acrylics," said senior Daniela Garcia, who has her sights set on becoming a nail technician. However, Garcia and her fellow 63 classmates must learn it all: nails, haircuts, hair color, perms, relaxers, facials, eyelash extensions, you name it.
"You want to always set them up for success. So, even if they decide this is not something I want to do now - they can still pick it up later," Mercadel said.
The free education students receive in the program would cost thousands at private beauty schools. Mercadel says Manor's program gives her students options.
"If they decide they want to go to college, they'll already be certified to fall back on or something to do in college," Mercadel said.
As of February 8, senior Litzy Suaste and other juniors and seniors have been working in a real salon.
"Most high schools don't offer stuff like this. And, I think it's pretty cool that I go to a school where I'm learning - and, then at the end of the day, I come over here and it's like I'm working in a real salon," Suaste said.
The on-campus Mustang Manes Salon is open to the public, servicing clients like Cathy Wolfe who got $15 acrylic nails that would normally cost her about $45.
I get nails. And, I get pretty nails. And, she gets experience with people and doing what she's doing now," Wolfe said, who added that she'll be back.
This April, the program's first students will take their state exam and Mercadel couldn't be more proud and excited for them.
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