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Herkimer BOCES Cosmetology students get ‘ready for the real world’ by providing salon and spa services to the community

Jan. 23, 2020



Cosmetology student standing up working on the hair of her sister who is sitting in front of her


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Cosmetology student Madison Szczesniak, a senior of West Canada Valley, works in the program’s clinic, Salon Illusions, on Thursday, Jan. 23, doing the hair of her sister, West Canada Valley senior Caity Szczesniak. Salon Illusions is open to local community members by appointment only. Call 315-867-2043 for information or to make an appointment.




HERKIMER – What better way to prepare students for working in cosmetology than to let them provide salon and spa services to customers from school and the local community?

That’s the thinking behind the Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Cosmetology program’s clinic, which allows senior students to offer services including cuts, coloring, perms, manicures, pedicures, waxing and more under the supervision of Cosmetology instructor Holly Rotundo Fischer and teaching assistant Sarah Jacquays-Alberts.

“This clinic provides students with hands-on experience and the opportunity to practice interacting with customers,” Fischer said. “It prepares them for entry level employment in a salon and creates a foundation for them if they want to go into a career in cosmetology.”

The clinic, named Salon Illusions, is open to community members by appointment only from 9-11 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex at 352 Gros Blvd. in Herkimer. The low prices of the services are used to offset the costs of putting on the clinic. To make an appointment or for information, call 315-867-2043.

Cosmetology student Madison Szczesniak, a senior of West Canada Valley, said she enjoys the clinic experience.

“I think it’s really great,” Szczesniak said, while recently providing services to her sister, West Canada Valley senior Caity Szczesniak. “I think it’s really nice to get to work with people, so you’re ready for the real world.”

Madison Szczesniak plans to work in cosmetology as part of her career – including during college – and might then go into dermatology, she said.

Salon Illusions allows students to work on their cosmetology skills and get used to talking to customers – such as being polite to them and being precise about what they want done, she said.

“It’s actually like the real work environment,” she said.

Adult Cosmetology student Courtney Macri also feels appreciative of the clinic and the program in general.

“It’s definitely something that I wish I did in high school, but I’m happy that I’m doing it now,” Macri said. “The kids in high school should take advantage of BOCES and do a trade.”

While recently working on the hair of another adult Cosmetology student, Gabbi Shipman, Macri said working with real clients can be a little nerve-wracking at first, but you get used to the added pressure quickly, and it’s a great experience.

“I love doing this,” she said.


Adult cosmetology student working on the hair of another adult student sitting in front of her


Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Cosmetology program adult student Courtney Macri works on the hair of adult student Gabbi Shipman during the program’s Salon Illusions clinic on Thursday, Jan. 23. Salon Illusions is open to local community members by appointment only. Call 315-867-2043 for information or to make an appointment.




Additional photos:

Cosmetology student standing up working on the hair of her sister who is sitting in front of her and reflection shown

Adult cosmetology student working on the hair of another adult student sitting in front of her