School unveils hair salon

 STUDENT Jilleeca Porterfield works on trustee Jock McArthur
STUDENT Jilleeca Porterfield works on trustee Jock McArthur's hair Monday.
— image credit: tyler olsen/morning star

Three Armstrong school officials put their hair on the line Monday as Pleasant Valley Secondary School’s brand new hairstyling program opened its doors to live clients.

PVSS principal Glen Borthistle, vice-principal Gene Doray and school district trustee Jock McArthur were greeted at the doors of the new salon, which boasts some 20 stations for aspiring stylists to develop their skills.

The high school program, in which students complete classroom work, learn styling techniques and undertake work experience in a professional salon, aims to allow students to take their certification exam right out of high school.

“The reason this program works is because learning becomes relevant. And when learning becomes relevant education begins,” said instructor Deborah Solski, who has developed hairstyling programs in Vancouver and Abbotsford, in addition to formerly running her own school.

The program is open to students from around the region, and boasts aspiring stylists from schools in Sorrento, Salmon Arm, Sicamous and Vernon among others. For Janelle Kendall, a Grade 11 PVSS student, the arrival of the program was perfectly timed.

“I’ve always wanted to be a hairdresser and when this opportunity opened up it meant we didn’t have to take the schooling outside of our high school,” she said.

For Kendall, it was the ability to be creative that drew her to hairstyling as a career.

“There’s so much creativity, you’re never doing the same thing over and over again,” she said, adding: “You’re always working with people.”

But the amount of instruction in disciplines seemingly removed from hairstyling surprised her.

“There is a lot more to do with it than just the hair. We’ve learned about the anatomy of the body and infection control. There is a large health aspect to it.”

The program includes 800 hours of school work in addition to 700 hours of work experience.

At the end of the course, students can take the Cosmetology Industry Association of B.C.’s hairstyling certification exam, after which time they can be employed at any salon in the province.

Paul Britton, career programs co-ordinator at PVSS, credited the school board for making the program a reality.

He said schools had been looking at getting more females involved in the trades and the hairstyling course fit the bill – there is one male enrolled, the other 18 are female.

Those hoping to book an appointment time at the salon can call the school at 546-3114 and leave a message for Solski.

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