WARSAW — Area students wishing to pursue the world of cosmetology have a new opportunity thanks to a partnership between the Warsaw Area Career Center and Inspire College of Cosmetology.
Inspire, located in the Center Center just off US 30, held its grand opening last evening, Tuesday, Aug. 23, and unveiled its program plans.
The partnership was more than a year in the making. According to Ronna Kawsky of the career center, located at Warsaw Community High School, program coordinators interviewed several candidates before they found Nikki Lawrence, a professional cosmetologist with a passion not only for the field, but for teaching.
“It’s really about getting a teacher who can relate to the students and help them succeed in following their dreams, Kawsky said.
Lawrence’s passion for teaching began shortly after she graduated from cosmetology school. She discovered that, while she had all of the up-to-date knowledge about cosmetology, she knew very little about marketing herself, building a customer base or setting up a salon.
“I went to a very good school, don’t get me wrong,” she said, “but I got out and there was a lot of frustration.”
Often, she said, that kind of frustration can lead to giving up before a person even really gets started. That is why she jumped at the chance to partner with the career center in opening Inspire.
“I love to educate and I love to pass things on to the next generation,” Lawrence said.
After a location was selected, Lawrence and her husband, Jack, spent numerous hours renovating and refurbishing the space to suit the program’s needs.
Inspire College of Cosmetology has programs for high school and community students. There are currently 20 spots for high school students from Warsaw, Whitko and Tippecanoe Valley schools. Of those, 15 spots are currently filled. Community students need to be at least age 17 and need to have a high school diploma or GED. However, there is no maximum age for community students.
Cosmetology was not something junior Vanessa Ortega originally considered as a career. In fact, growing up, she had very little interest in hair or makeup until a friend inspired her to give it a try.
For Junior Yessica Ursua, cosmetology grew from a lifelong interest to a career passion.
“I started doing makeup in middle school and from there it got bigger,” she said. Soon, she was watching YouTube videos to learn the latest.
For Ortega, one surprising aspect of professional cosmetology was self-presentation.
“You have to look put-together to have someone trust you enough to work on them,” she said.
Ursua was intrigued by all of the different areas cosmetology includes. “There’s so much more than doing hair,” she said.
Next year, Kawsky and Lawrence hope to have 40 total spots for high school students, 20 in the morning and 20 in the afternoon. By the time the students graduate, they will be licensed and trained, not only in the latest cosmetology techniques but also in how to succeed in the cosmetology business.
Inspire offers the community a full “menu of services” in hair, coloring, texture services, nails and artificial nails, facials and waxing, all at reduced prices. For more information, call (574) 269-2245.