Most students at A.C. Jones High School who take art courses are usually working on traditional canvasses, whether that be a piece of construction paper or posterboard.
The students of the school’s Career and Technical Education cosmetology program are not typical, receiving human canvasses weekly to apply their artistic makeup and hair abilities.
Students in the cosmetology program learn the fine arts of makeup application, hair cutting, shaving and grooming, as well as specialty services like manicures and pedicures. The classes are under the instruction of Gloria Landreth and Eloy Reyna, in the program for five years and two years, respectively.
Landreth began the program after a successful cosmetology career as a salon owner. Her work was known locally through her salon, Hair Dynamix, which she recently closed to spend more time with students. Originally from northern Texas, Landreth knew Beeville was the place to grow a cosmetology program.
“I just saw the vision of having cosmetology in our school,” she said. “I noticed that a lot of the other schools (had it) … it became a reality.”
The day-to-day reality for cosmetology students can be eye-opening, as each new lesson about makeup or hair care brings what Landreth calls “aha!” moments.
“You can see the energy in their eyes … to see them go through that is amazing.”
Classes range from ninth to 12th grade, beginning with Reyna’s Principals of Color and Design course and his Intro to Cosmetology course. Advanced students then move on to Landreth’s Cosmetology 1 and Cosmetology 2 classes.
The eventual goal for cosmetology students is to become certified in the profession throughout Texas. Certification tests come in two stages, a written exam followed by a “practical skill” test. To prepare students, Landreth translates her experiences in the businesses to constant learning opportunities.
“I’m very passionate, and so when I come to teach and help these kids learn, I love the journey (students) can get on. For me, it’s very rewarding to be here.”
Select students are allowed to test their skills on more than just classmates, with Landreth opening the call for locals to set up a hair or makeup appointment at A.C. Jones. Appointments are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. For more information on scheduling an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Though the appointments may take longer than the usual salon, due to the students’ relative lack of experience, Landreth still trusts her classes to be ready for professional life.
“They’re ready for work,” Landreth said. “Either to open their own businesses, or work for franchises, or work for a salon locally … it’s a great foundation for them. For me, it was a great career, and it can be a great career for them as well.”