Four Grade 12 students from Lake Cowichan Secondary School have got a jumpstart on a career when they finish high school and graduate this June.
Megan Foster, Jasmine Langset, Sarah Tardiff and Nicki Vandersluys spent two semesters attending Vancouver Island University’s hairdressing program at the Duncan campus. They are back in Lake Cowichan, each one sporting an achievement award, for their final semester which began Feb. 4.
“It was the first year the program was running,” explained Langset.
VIU runs a 42-week certificate program in hairdressing at its Nanaimo campus, but this was an opportunity to do the same program that would give the girls credits toward their high school diploma.
The girls all said they heard about the opportunity from different sources. One of them reportedly heard about it from a counsellor, while another said she heard about it from one of the four who did the program.
“I heard about it from Nicki who said she was going to do it,” commented Foster. “When I found out how many credits it would give me, I was like, yeah!”
The year-long program ran four days a week, with hours from 9-4, and the four girls commuted together for the most part. Eighteen students from different high schools began the pilot course, but there were a few less who actually made it to the end of the course, for different reasons the girls explained.
“A couple students dropped off in the first month,” said Vandersluys. “Another one had a fall out with the teacher, and so on.”
“We had tests throughout the program and we had to keep up grades,” added Langset. “We didn’t have to report back to LCSS, but we kind of checked back once in a while, because we are a small community and it’s like that here.”
Even though they are finished the program and back at school in Lake Cowichan, a couple of the girls are working part time. Vandersluys, who came away from the course with a district prize for top student, has a part-time job as a junior stylist in a salon in Duncan. Tardiff, who also was the recipient of a district award for safety, works Saturdays in Lake Cowichan at Remedy Salon.
Both Foster and Langset also won awards at the end of the program. Foster’s was an in-house award for colour, and Langset took the in-house award for cutting. In all, there were only five awards for all the students that participated in the program.
When asked what they felt they had achieved from doing the course, all the girls had different answers.
“For me, I think it’s having a jumpstart on a career when you get out of high school,” said Langset. “People are always going to need haircuts.”
Foster says she thinks it has helped her grow as a person, that she feels more mature after having gone through it.
“I think it really helped me develop a sense of what life was going to be like outside of high school once I’m done,” said Vandersluys.
All the girls said their friends at school were proud of them for having come through the course with distinction, and that they are definitely getting requests for haircuts and colour.