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Career Tech Cosmetology shows why they are a cut above the rest

Student with Pink Strands in hair November 25, 2019


by Ana Vuvunikyan

12th grade,

Normandy High School



The cosmetology students of the Parma City School District are working hard to learn the methodology behind a professional salon.

The Career and Technical Education cosmetology students, located at Normandy High School, enjoy their work, especially being around clients and making them feel good about themselves. A variety of opportunities are provided to those enrolled in the two year cosmetology program, including obtaining a board certified license, participation in a competitive hair show and doing community functions.

Each student is required to know about different diseases and disorders that affect their clients. Students are also expected to know the basic anatomy relevant to their occupation. For example, when they learn about hand massages, they learn about all the different pressure points, tendons and bones in the hand. 

A normal day in cosmetology includes theory and lab. The juniors work diligently to be certified to work on the salon floor. They also learn a variety of cosmetology-related skills, such as waxing, nail care, hair care and professionalism.

Seniors can often be found studying for their state board exams. On Mondays and Tuesdays they work on mannequin heads and have demonstrations from the cosmetology industry by outside mentors who come to the building. 

The students are able to master their skills in an authentic environment, servicing clients and managing the Invader Style salon at Normandy on their own.

“The senior students provide services with guidance from their instructors, Wednesday through Friday, from 9 am to 12 pm during the school year,” Cassandra Lehky, Cosmetology instructor stated.  “Some services include haircutting, hair color and highlights, manicures, waxing and facials.” 

Another opportunity the students enjoy is going to “Fashion Focus” in Cleveland. There, professionals come together to educate each other and the students about topics related to cosmetology.  Any licensed hairdresser or student can attend the event and learn about new products while sharing their knowledge of the salon industry.

“It’s good for the kids to be in an atmosphere of hairdresser, nail techs, and estheticians to see the different avenues,” Samantha Andexler, cosmetology instructor explained. “They don’t have to work just behind a chair.  They could be a platform artist, they could be a sales rep for a company. It’s nice to get them out of just our salon and show them different career paths that they can do with their license.”

The various opportunities Cosmetology CTE program provides students with the chance to earn college credit, work experience, interact with real customers, and certification as a professional if proper requirements are met. Outside of learning their state license, students can also earn college credit in Small Business through Cuyahoga Community College.  In addition, every junior going into their senior year must complete a mandatory, unpaid internship in an outside, professional salon or business. 

The students and staff of the cosmetology program are also involved with their school and the entire community.  During the month of October, students decided to hold a fundraiser to raise money for two different programs, including Wigs For Kids and Normandy’s PBIS, or Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports) programming. Students Faith Maloney and Diamond Datko came up with the idea. 

“For the entire month of October, we did a Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser where you could come into cosmetology and get a strand of pink in your hair for $4,” Maloney, a senior explained. 

“It was just something cute and small for everybody in the school to get involved,” Ari Ledger, another senior from cosmetology explained.

“It was bigger than we expected it to be,” Andexler explained. “It was great because it got our students busy, it got students in the building to know about our program. It was for a good cause, both for Breast Cancer Awareness and it was helping us teachers contribute to the PBIS in our building. It was really full circle.”

Like any other CTE program, to be in cosmetology one must have the will to learn, and the rest will be taught. If students are interested, they should take the opportunity to visit or call the cosmetology program to find out more information.

More information, and to schedule an appointment with the program can be found on the PCSD website at or by calling 440-885-8394.


PHOTO CAPTION:  A student displays the pink hair as part of the Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser in October at Cosmetology.