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SPS Holds Open House for Cosmetology CTE Program

SPS Holds Open House for Cosmetology CTE Program
Allison McGowan
Springfield Public Schools held an open house for its new Cosmetology CTE pathway on Tuesday, February 20, 2024. 
The program welcomed its first cohort of students to the two-year program in fall of 2023, which is housed at Gateways High School, Brattain Campus.
The event began with speakers ranging from District leadership to industry partners to students. U.S. Representative Val Hoyle concluded the speeches by emphasizing the importance of vocational education and its role in building a strong and skilled workforce for the nation. She addressed the cohort of students, saying, "If we just say that there's one way to learn and there's one way to teach and there's one way to be successful, we're doing you a disservice. So I'm really, really excited about this program. I'm really excited about everyone that's here. I hope you all feel how very proud we are of you."
The open house showcased the District's commitment to providing students with practical, hands-on experiences that align with real-world industry demands, reinforcing the value of CTE programs as vital components of a well-rounded education.
Superintendent Todd Hamilton opened the program by recognizing those that made the program a reality, including former and current School Board members, Gateways High School principal Lesa Haley, and former U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio, who helped secure federal funding for the program. 
"There are 'aha' moments when I can say, 'I am so proud of you,'" cosmetology teacher Shirley Arnett told the crowd of more than 100. "But what's even better is when they can say, 'I am so proud of myself.' That's what this is about."
Industry partner Julio Mendoza, owner of Endless Barber Co. and Gateways High School Alumni, spoke about what such a program would have meant to him in high school and offered words of encouragement to students.
"I want all of you to remember that as long as you keep self-improving, supporting each other and staying committed to your growth, you're not going to fail...It's not just about cutting hair, but building lives and uplifting each other," said Mendoza.
Students also expressed their gratitude for the program.
"This program means something close to the world to me," said Jay Leal, hair design student. "I love this program and I'm so happy that I was accepted into it."
"This pathway is so much more to me than cosmetology," said Amelia Guzman, nail design student. "It's not just doing your hair and your makeup. It's learning ethics; it's business."
Students then welcomed attendees to their salon classroom and held center stage speaking confidently about the program and their future goals to local leaders, past and present School Board members, the media and Rep. Hoyle. Cupcakes baked by the Thurston High School Culinary CTE program were served.