Under the supervision of instructor Melissa Prickett, the advanced class salon staff — all seniors who worked overtime last summer to progress into advanced classes and prepare for duties at the on-campus salon — provided a range of hair treatments and nail services to faculty representatives, family members and friends as the Cosmetology Department, one section of the new multi-pronged, career-focused Technology Institute at North Meck, welcomed its first customers.
A ceremonial ribbon cutting, with guests including Principal Matthew Hayes, North Learning Community Superintendent Dawn Robinson, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Career and Technical Education (CTE) Coordinator Nancy Cowan, CMS CTE Curriculum Coordinator Colette Williams and North Meck Asst. Principal Derrick Robinson — with refreshments provided by the equally new Culinary Department at the school — was held in the hallway between the cosmetology classrooms and two-room salon. But the actual celebration for Prickett was watching her students take control and tackle every duty affiliated with opening the full-service salon.
"You know you've covered everything and you want it all to go smoothly," Prickett said, "but I have to admit I was terrified. But the students really stepped up. They did a great job and I was so proud of the entire class."
The cosmetology students — 10 in the advanced class and 12 in first phase classes — are participating in intensive training designed to provide the foundation for potential careers. The goal of the program is to provide 1,200 hours of training for cosmetology students by the time they graduate. Completion of those hours will qualify students immediately to sit for state exams and earn status as apprentices.
The cosmetology program is part of the magnet Technical Institute taking shape at North Meck. Career-oriented training is also offered in the culinary, automotive and agriculture/horticulture fields with the addition of carpentry planned next year. The institute serves North Meck students as well as students from Hopewell, Hough and Mallard Creek high schools who apply and are accepted into specific career programs and then transfer to North Meck.