Cosmetology students at Cleveland High School are now taking advantage of approximately $30,000 worth of new equipment recently installed in their classroom.
Cosmetology instructor Becky Davis and her students showed off the equipment during an open house at the school on Tuesday.
The new equipment includes new pedicure stations, hair-washing stations, dryer chairs, manicure tables, hairstyling stations and more. With the installation of all this new equipment, Davis said the classroom looks less like a classroom and "more like a real salon."
"This is huge because it prepares them for postsecondary and salon work," Davis said. "It makes what we do in class so much more realistic for them."
Renny Whittenbarger, career and technical education supervisor for Cleveland City Schools, explained this renovation was paid for with federal funding resulting from the 2006 Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
Though the school could have chosen to spend less than the approximately $30,000 it did for this project, Whittenbarger said they took care to select equipment that could last. Much of the equipment which had been replaced was between 15 and 18 years old.
The equipment arrived in August, and workers spent months assembling all the equipment, designing a new layout for the classroom and rerouting water and electrical lines to accommodate these changes. Students began using the new space in January.
"You could see it on their faces when this was going on — they couldn't wait," Whittenbarger said of the students. "It has been rewarding to see how excited they are to use equipment like they would use in a real salon."
As the students offered visitors tours of the space, they explained how each change affects how they practice their craft. For example, having pedicure stations with water hookups means no longer having to fill, carry and empty wash basins.
"We love it a lot," said student Keosha Scott. "It's good to see how much this is like the places we could be working in one day."
At CHS, cosmetology is a career and technical education program where students practice their skills as they would in the beginning stages of their educations at professional beauty schools.
Davis said these classes are designed to prepare students for this next step, and having this new equipment is going to help students make this transition. Some of the students said they now feel more confident about their ability to go from their high school program to a professional program, because they now know how to use industry-standard equipment.
"It's kind of amazing that we have all this," said student Erika Batencourt. "We've had this for a little while now, but we are still really, really excited about it."
Cosmetology is one of several CTE programs offered at CHS. Other programs include Automotive, Business Technology, Criminal Justice, Culinary Arts, Digital Media Production, Engineering, Health Science, Marketing and STEM.