Students make a style statement

Published 2:29 pm Wednesday, September 3, 2008

COURTLAND—The 22 students from Southampton Technical Career Center were the only high school students on hand, and they were competing with adults from 39 states and four nations.

It was the first national competition for Rita Yeary’s Southampton High School cosmetology students, and they could have been forgiven if they had felt a little overwhelmed.

Instead, the stylists and their models stepped up with some unusual creations and took away a first-place trophy and a fifth-place award in one category.

“I was so proud, I cried,” Yeary said of her students recently. “It was an experience of a lifetime. Each year, the students are getting better and better and better.”

Indeed, the students made such an impression on their hosts in Winston-Salem, N.C., that they have been invited back to the 2009 national championships, to be held in New Jersey.

“I’ve got good kids,” Yeary said, noting that they were well-mannered and professional during the overnight trip to the National Beauty Culturists League, Inc., convention.

Southampton’s School Board gave the students the green light to attend the July competition after members of the program brought home eight of 12 trophies that were available in the statewide Virginia Beauticians’ Association competition this spring.

Southampton students won in the barbering, evening, professional and fantasy categories in that state competition. In the national one this summer, it was again the fantasy category that proved to be enchanted for the students.

Stylist Mariah Lawrence and model Taylor Williams brought home the first-place trophy from Winston-Salem for Lawrence’s wild hair-suit creation.

Her model sported blue leggings, a striped vest and a blue wig, all created from hair. The ensemble was set off by gray body paint.

Winning fifth-place honors in the fantasy category at the national competition were stylist Hope Clarke and model Jermaine Whitney.

Others attending the competition from Southampton included Jessica Taylor, Kendra Runner, Talitia Jordan, Walisha Powell, Raineka Faulk, Ashley Knight, Raven Powell, Brittany Jenifer, Jamecia Hawkins, Ashley Turner, Mariah Jordan, Stephone Davis, Eliza Barden, Brittany Murphy, Sara Campbell, Ashley Avent, Leon Stewart and Sharmaine Leigh.

The group found Virginia supporters on hand in the form of Franklin City Councilwoman Rosa Lawrence; Dr. Regina Lundy, president of the NBCL Virginia State Beauticians’ Association Inc.; and Dr. Brenda McIntire, Virginia state registrar.

The students get regular, actual work experience by serving clients on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the “Hair Dynamics” salon set up at the Tech Center.

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.

To make an appointment, call 653-9170.