By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — These Astros have style.
For Pinkerton Academy senior Gabby Guinto, it’s a real-life situation as she learns the fine point of styling hair and doing skin care as part of Pinkerton’s inaugural year cosmetology program.
Students have opened the doors to their salon classroom to offer open hours for services to the public and the Pinkerton community.
The Astro Style salon is open Fridays during specific school day periods for the public and staff to stop by for a variety of services. That includes hair styling, waxing, manicures, skin care, shampoos and scalp treatments.
Gabby sat at the front desk last Friday, signing in customers and doing what any professional stylist would do.
The program gives students a look into a real life salon business.
“Teachers and students come in, and our friends and family come, too,” Gabby said.
She said her mother stopped by one Friday to get her nails done.
But Gabby has been working on her family already as she learns to be a stylist.
“I do my sister’s hair all the time,” she said.
It’s good practice, students say, to be able to offer what they are learning to others for a reasonable price. All money made goes back into supporting the cosmetology program at Pinkerton.
“We’re definitely up and running,” instructor Keryl Rabidoux said
Rabidoux said teachers will stop by, sign in at the front desk and allow students to work their magic.
“We have some teachers coming in today,” she said as she looked at the appointment sheet.
The students have only been offering services since last fall and only on Fridays.
They already had some real life practice. Last fall, several of Pinkerton’s male teachers took the plunge and had cosmetology students shave off their facial hair for charity.
As prom season approaches, students may open Astro Style for specialized hair appointments for those hoping for that glamorous look.
A local middle school has also invited Pinkerton students to help with hair styles in an upcoming spring musical.
“We are getting popular, which we are loving,” Rabidoux said.
She said she loves when parents come in for the first time to see their children in action with scissors and a comb.
There are currently about 60 students in the new program, she said, and all are enjoying what they do and learning a lot.
When not working on actual humans on Fridays, students perfect their skills on mannequin heads with human hair. The classroom area is designed like a professional salon.
Senior Sara Haggarty said once the public hours started she was a bit nervous about actually working on a live customer.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking,” she said. “But it’s good practice if you want to go on with it.”
Sara worked on a friend during open hours last week, giving Stephanie Longo a manicure.
Stephanie said she was happy with the results.
Alyssa Willey, a senior, said she has a lot of support for what she is learning.
“I had one of my best friends here as my first customer,” she said.
Astro Style hopes to expand its hours in the next several months.