WESTERLY — Cosmetology students at Westerly High School say they are ecstatic to be working and learning in their new space in Babcock Hall.
The move from the previous location at Tower Street School was supposed to be completed by the start of the 2018 school year. Instructor Shelby Worsham said that “with the start of the fiscal year on July 1 and the holiday that same week, (it) created complications with ordering supplies and deliveries,” causing the delay.
The students have welcomed the opening of the new space.
Fallon Denning, a junior in the program, said, “it is easier to work here, because there is more space, and a lot more teachers are aware of (the program) and want to come down.”
There is still electrical work that needs to be done in the three rooms the cosmetology students work in, including installing more outlets for the new equipment.
Nearly 80 percent of the money spent on the move went toward infrastructure, such as knocking down walls for more space and installing insulation and windows. The rest of the money was spent on purchasing new equipment.
As a result of the delay, students focused on completing book and theory work in a classroom.
"It was nice to get the book work done first so when we got down here we could jump right in,” junior Katheryne Ryan said.
The cosmetology program was established at the school in 2002 by Worsham, and has grown each year. Students receive training from experts in the field, such as representatives from L'Oreal and Matrix, every month. Students also have the opportunity to perform work on clients from the community under the supervision of Worsham.
In 2017 cosmetology, which had been a three-year program at Westerly High, became a full four-year program. At the end of a student’s high school career, they graduate with a state license to practice cosmetology.
Senior Abigail Shalloo encouraged students to sign up for the program. But, she said, “if you aren’t passionate about theory or hard work, it’s not for you.”
Worsham has taught cosmetology for 16 years in Westerly, and has 35 students enrolled in the program this year. The program offers services to the public and reduced rates for the elderly. For appointment times call, 401-315-1572.
Westerly High School currently has five technical programs, with plans to expand in the upcoming years. Technical programs the school offers include cosmetology, construction, culinary, CTE-Medical pathway and PTech. For more information about these programs visit, www.westerly.k12.ri.us.
The writer is a senior at Westerly High School who interned at The Sun.