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?

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 Jan. 23. Salon Illusions is open to local community members by appointment only. Call 315-867-2043 for information or to make an appointment. [SUBMITTED PHOTO]© SUBMITTED PHOTO/Observer-Dispatch/Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y./TNS
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 Jan. 23. Salon Illusions is open to local community members by appointment only. Call 315-867-2043 for information or to make an appointment. [SUBMITTED PHOTO]

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 instructor Holly Rotundo Fischer and teaching assistant Sarah Jacquays-Alberts.

a woman holding a wine glass: Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Cosmetology student Madison Szczesniak, a senior at West Canada Valley, works in the program’s clinic, Salon Illusions, on 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. [SUBMITTED PHOTO]© SUBMITTED PHOTO/Observer-Dispatch/Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y./TNS
Herkimer-Fulton-Hamilton-Otsego BOCES Cosmetology student Madison Szczesniak, a senior at West Canada Valley, works in the program’s clinic, Salon Illusions, on 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. [SUBMITTED PHOTO]

“This clinic provides students with hands-on experience and the opportunity to practice interacting with customers,” Fischer said in a statement. “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 to 11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at the Herkimer BOCES William E. Busacker Complex at 352 Gros Blvd. in Herkimer. To make an appointment or for information, call 315-867-2043.

Madison Szczesniak, a senior at West Canada Valley, said she enjoys the clinic experience.

“It’s really great,” Szczesniak said, while recently providing services to her sister, West Canada Valley senior Caity Szczesniak. “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.

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

Adult 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 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.

“I love doing this,” she said.

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