In the 1960s, the Beehive and Beatles-inspired hairstyles were all the rage. The Ombre and Mainstream Hipster are among today’s trendy hairstyles.
While hairstyles have changed over 50 years, the cosmetology program at Craven Community College (CCC) has always provided a career opportunity for its students. In 1969, The State Board of Community Colleges approved what was then Craven County Technical Institute’s request for a cosmetology program to be located in rental facilities on Trent Boulevard in New Bern. Cosmetology classes were taught there until 1990.
In 1984, cosmetology classes began in an East Plaza storefront on Main Street in Havelock. In the late 1990s, the cosmetology program was consolidated into its current location in Kelso Hall on the New Bern campus. Education programs have expanded to also include esthetics and nail technologies. This expansion is due to salons offering a wider array of services to clients.
Currently, approximately 150 clients are served every week. “If it weren’t for the community, it would not be possible for the students to get the education they need. We greatly appreciate these clients for trusting our students,” said Patricia Batten, lead cosmetology instructor. Batten graduated from CCC’s cosmetology program in 1990, and, recently, celebrated 15 years of teaching full-time at the college.
Since Batten has been an instructor, she estimates more than 500 students have come through the program. Prior to Batten, the program was led by instructors Hazel Neal and Brenda (Barbee) Best. Batten first worked under instructor Kitty Pierre in Havelock.
Laura Willis is a cosmetology student who will be graduating in December. Willis already has been offered employment by a new salon. She started going to college for an agriculture degree, but switched to cosmetology. “Styling hair is something I’ve always enjoyed. I immediately loved learning cosmetology from the very first class at Craven,” said Willis. Willis has enjoyed learning due in large part to the high level of commitment she feels from her instructors.
“The vast majority of our students get jobs or start businesses right away,” said Ricky Meadows, chair of industrial, transportation & service programs. Meadows said potential students can enter the cosmetology diploma program each August or January and be finished in three semesters. The esthetics program accepts new students each August and students can complete their certificate in nine months.
While learning techniques and products are important, both Batten and Willis felt some of the most important lessons learned by cosmetology students is how to be professional and build relationships with their clients and community. Havelock resident Delores “Dee” Wertz has been a client since the program opened in Havelock. Wertz has her hair shampooed, set and cut every month, and permed every other month. “I am a regular client of the cosmetology school because I love the students and the instructors,” said Wertz. Wertz says students are successful because the instructors are very professional and care about students and clients.
Deborah Kania is the director of marketing, communications and development liaison at Craven Community College.
Follow the college’s 50-year history every Thursday for #tbt (Throw Back Thursday) posts on www.Facebook.com/CravenCC.
Article originally appeared in the New Bern Sun Journal.