In terms of public service to the community, the Cosmetology Department of Navarro College is one of Corsicana's “Best Kept Secrets.”
What Corsicana residents may not realize is that these award-winning services are available to the public at a fraction of the price of a traditional boutique.
Locals may not realize that a full selection of hair and beauty services are available at the back entryway of the original Bealls of College Park Mall. What isn't a secret for the college are the award-winning students that make up the department.
Just this year, Navarro College Cosmetology sent 11 of its students to the 2019 Skills USA Texas Postsecondary State Leadership Conference. The event showcases the nation's best students in the career and technical education fields, starting locally, and working through state and national levels.
The Navarro College Skills USA chapter for the 2018-2019 school year was started by Kim Moyers, where they competed and won numerous medals and took the gold medalist to the nationals competition in Cosmetology Service, ranking seventh in the United States and Career Pathways and fourth in the United States.
Robyn Smith, Associate Professor of the Cosmetology department, is a proud Bulldog and 2010 graduate of Navarro College. After Smith got her license from the program, she realized that while she liked doing hair, she enjoyed teaching more.
“It was automatic,” said Smith. “It's what I knew I wanted to do.”
Smith, who began her role as an Associate Professor in 2016, still does hair on Fridays in Teague, but is devoted to her work with the college full-time. The department, which began in 2005, teaches an average of 20 to 25 students per semester.
While cosmetology students still have to hit the books and work on course theory, the bulk of their study is through practical application.
Where do they find their best resources to practice? Willing residents.
The Cosmetology department is open to the public every Tuesday and Thursday for those that make appointments. Their list of services available are broad and economical in price, ranging from haircuts and styling, perms, relaxers and straighteners, color services, manicures, pedicures, facials, makeup application and waxing.
The affordable prices aren't just a courtesy. The needed practice helps the students get their operator's license so that they can get their state license required to work in in the industry and open their own salon.
“We're super proud of the program,” Smith said.
Smith's teachings and belief in her students have paid off. Earlier in the year, her students competed again, winning numerous medals and taking taking gold in Cosmetology Services and Esthetics. These two competitions are two of the hardest to win in the industry.
The winners for the event were Christian Lee - Barbering (Bronze); Marissa Blum - Cosmetology (Gold); Shelby Nickell - Esthetician (Gold); and Courtney Ott - Nails (Silver).
Also in June of this year, students Marissa Blum and Shelby Nickell went to Nationals.
The Cosmetology Department offers one and two year training courses. Studying for one year earns a certificate. Two years earns an Associate of Applied Science, a way to encourage studying past the initial certificate by teaching additional general courses such as math, science and computer courses so that students can be better rounded and educated in the business world.
The Cosmetology Department also takes in students from over 50 of the local high schools. Students can start taking classes their Junior year for four semesters, and once they complete 1,000 hours of dual credit, they can earn their certificate and start working in the industry.
While Navarro College's Cosmetology Department helps its students learn a new trade, its teachings provide an affordable and beneficial alternative for residents looking for new styles for hair and esthetics care.