Mannequins might never have been so pampered as students styled hair, applied color and performed other tasks on the stand-in customers during the new cosmetology course at the Hannibal Career and Technical Center (HCTC). It was some of their first steps toward future careers.

Mannequins might never have been so pampered as students styled hair, applied color and performed other tasks on the stand-in customers during the new cosmetology course at the Hannibal Career and Technical Center (HCTC). It was some of their first steps toward future careers.

The new Cosmetology I and Cosmetology II courses span two blocks each day of the week at HCTC, accounting for three hours of hands-on learning, said instructor Sarah Wittland. Students learn all the techniques necessary for a cosmetology certificate, coming from schools like Palmyra High School, Monroe City High School, Mark Twain Senior High School, Marion County R-II High School, Highland High School and Canton High School, said HCTC Director Brent Meyer.

Advisor Cindy Livesay said the program offers students the chance to take the cosmetology exam and receive a certificate without incurring college debt.

Meyer said there are 77 cosmetology schools in the state, and the new HCTC program is one of 11 that is part of a technical school.

Wittland said post-secondary cosmetology schools — like Advance Beauty College, which closed during the summer before the HCTC program began — can cost students between $16,000-20,000 in tuition, compared to the free HCTC course in which students plan to offer services to the public after Christmas break.

The students practiced various techniques on mannequins at their individual stations. Wittland said each student worked on different techniques based on their learning styles. She emphasized that each students is a visual and hands-on learner, and she makes sure to spend plenty of one-on-one time with each student as they reach their own “a-ha moment.”

“To have them all finally get it on their own time is what's amazing as a teacher,” she said. “And it's something that's going to help them succeed, and that's what I enjoy.” The students looked forward to gathering experience in cosmetology and discovering what could be ahead.

Hailie Carter, a junior from Mark Twain Senior High School, practiced “foiling,” a technique that offers highlights and lowlights of color for hairstyles. She learned how hair type and color choice can vary the results and how to perform the process step-by-step.

“It's really exciting, I'm up early in the mornings during the week, but it's really nice to know that once I'm done with high school, I'll have a career to start on and be able to go to college with something to do,” Carter said. “And it's free, which is something you don't have a whole lot, especially with this type of program.”

Raney Wilson, a junior from Palmyra, blow dried her mannequin's hair as she prepared to perform the foiling technique. She said the course has taught her various skills along with some knowledge about herself as a person.

“I'm definitely going to have to work on talking to people and interacting with people, because, I'm not always the best at that. I get kind of shy,” she said. “What I've always been excited about is the coloring hair part, because I consider myself an artistic person.”

Josie Zurweller, a junior from Monroe City, practiced coloring hair as Wittland offered her advice.

“It's pretty cool,” she said. “It's something that I really like doing, and I'm excited to see what comes into the future.”

HCTC staff and faculty members will host an open house for the public from 4-6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 to celebrate the grand opening of the new Cosmetology program with a ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce that will offer tours, cake and punch.

trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com