Stylists make a splash at contest

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

COURTLAND—Eight hairstylists and their models from Southampton High School took honors recently at a statewide competition sponsored by the Virginia Beauticians’ Association.

Competing against students—including adults—from cosmetology schools throughout Virginia, Rita Yeary’s students from Southampton Technical Career Center won eight of the 12 trophies available at the Hampton competition.

“They were all good,” Yeary said. “All my babies are good.”

Southampton students won in the barbering, evening, professional and fantasy categories, garnering two first-place awards, four seconds and two thirds.

Out of about 47 10th-, 11th- and 12th-graders who participate in the school’s cosmetology program, 22 two-person teams participated in the contest.

“All of the students that were there are winners,” Yeary said of the April competition. “I’m very proud of them. This is their livelihood.”

Southampton’s cosmetology program is designed to give students the education and experience they need for careers as beauticians. After three years in classes five days a week for an hour-and-a-half each day, students take practical and written tests that determine whether they can become licensed in the field.

Yeary said that on April 29, for the first time ever, those tests were administered in the Technical Center’s salon. In the past, students had to travel outside of the county twice for the two tests, she explained. This year, state examiners traveled to the high school, and students were able to get all of their testing out of the way at one time.

Yeary said she expects the results of those tests “any day.” But the students have told her they are confident that they all passed.

“I do have a good group of kids,” she added. “They work extremely hard.”

In fact, the students get regular, actual work experience by serving clients on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Yeary said the services, available by appointment only, are inexpensive and cover the full range that would be expected in a regular salon, including manicures, pedicures, facials and all types of hairstyling.

Clients need not worry about being served by students, Yeary added, since they are talented and she oversees all of their work. She said the students have regular customers, including some teachers who use their planning periods to get their hair and nails done.

“Some of my students are better than people with licenses,” she said.

Yeary plans to take a group of 20 students to Winston-Salem, N.C., in July for a national competition. It will be Southampton’s first time being represented at that level.

The following students were winners in the state contest:

– Barbering: Jessica Taylor, stylist, and Princeton Smith, model, first place; Hope Clark, stylist, and Jelee Williams, model, second place; and Hope Clark, stylist, and Desmond Barnes, model, third place.

– Evening: Ieshia Hoskie, stylist, and Trisha Smith, model, second place; and Jessica Winborne, stylist, and QuaShonna Chambliss, model, third place;

– Professional: Sharnae MacClenny, stylist, and Shemika Jones, model, first place; and Jasmain Barrett, stylist, and Sharmain Leigh, model, second place;

– Fantasy: Mirah Lawrence, stylist, and Taylor Williams, model, second place.