Catawba Valley Community College’s Cosmetology Program is the only one in the country to finish in the top three spots in the annual SkillsUSA national competition three years in a row and has had several state champions in cosmetology and fantasy hair and makeup.
Cosmetology Program Director Tammy Muller attributes this success to the way her students have embraced the SkillsUSA tenets: citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training. SkillsUSA’s mission is to improve the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program based on those tenets.
At the beginning of each school year, the faculty and students collaborate to develop a year-long plan for community service and professional development. Activities are designed to engage the students in the learning process and connect them to their community and their profession.
Activities this year ranged from a Hollywood celebrity game show to test knowledge of industry terms to collaboration with an “Extreme Entrepreneurship Tour” held on campus to promote young business ownership.
Other activities included a design competition based on a chosen movie theme where students created a manikin head, hair and make-up using only provided materials. The manikins were displayed at the CVCC Create Your Future Showcase, the Career Prep Conference and other college events.
Cosmetology students participated in the fall CVCC Blood Drive by giving blood and recruiting other blood donors.
During CVCC’s Create Your Future Showcase, faculty along with students performed demonstrations of various hairstyling and makeup techniques.
Students attended the Charlotte Hair Show where they learned new techniques being introduced in the industry. It also provided a networking opportunity with future employers.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, students held a fundraiser for the Susan G. Komen Foundation and local charities that assist victims of domestic violence.
In conjunction with Veterans Day, students held an open salon offering free services to all military and their families. A “Wall of Fame” banner was displayed in the window where members of the community could honor their loved ones in the military by writing their names.
For the holidays, the students adopted a family in need. The students bought necessities and gifts for the family’s children. They also collected food and supplies for CVCC’s Hawks Nest that feeds hungry students while on campus.
The cosmetology students exhibited during CVCC’s Black History Celebration demonstrating professional styling skills while wearing “I had a dream” t-shirts honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy.
Students raised money for the SkillsUSA travel expenses through number of different community activities. They held a Carolina Panthers’ Super Bowl “Keep Pounding” campaign in the salon by dying customers’ hair or painting their nails Panther blue or silver for a donation to SkillsUSA. They partnered with Great Clips and held a spring premium gift package drawing.
During prom season, the students will once again hold a Prom Project, opening up the salon three Saturdays in April to offer free hairstyling, makeup and manicures for free.
With the assistance of salon faculty Amanda Minish, Donna Vann, Bridgett Thompson and Fatima Winkler, Muller will once again field a team of competitors in the state SkillsUSA Conference coming up in April.