HARLINGEN — Deisy Cardiel waved a blow drier quickly over the head of the mannequin.
The blow drying was just one of many steps she’d take toward giving the mannequin what she called a curl, a tress of hair that would sweep provocatively over the left side of the face.
“We are practicing for our practicum,” said Deisy, 18, a senior at Harlingen High School.
She and several other students are in the district’s cosmetology program, which this May celebrates its 25th anniversary. They were preparing for their exam to earn their cosmetology state license.
They’re now taking clients at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District Cosmetology Class.
Deisy and the other aspiring stylists have spent the past three years learning how to do nails, makeup, manicures, hair coloring and so much more.
“We have been learning hair cutting, hair coloring, a lot of highlights,” said Amy Rodriguez, 16.
“It’s really fun,” she continued.
Some tasks require time to perfect, such as highlights.
“You have to make sure it blends,” she said. “You have to be confident with the technique.”
Amy was taking Cosmo 1 for juniors, while Deisy was in Cosmo 2. There’s also an introductory course, said Rachel Zuniga, the instructor.
“It’s current, it’s trendy,” she said. “They get to be creative.”
She’s been teaching the course for the Harlingen school district for many years. The program will celebrate its 25th anniversary in May and former graduates from the course will be there to speak with students.
Many students found hairstyling to be the most enjoyable skill.
“You get to be more creative,” said Carla Lanzaverde, 15.
“It helps with my family,” Carla said. “I can do their hair.”
It will also help in another way. Carla plans to work as a cosmetologist while studying to be a nurse.
Such was the case with many students, like Sandra Gonzalez.
“It’s something we can use in the real world,” said Sandra, 17. The Harlingen High School senior plans to work as a stylist while studying to become a dentist.
Jaylynn Walker, however, hopes to pursue the trade as a career, and it showed in her excited energy as she combed the hair on her mannequin.
“I have always been interested in cosmetology,” said Jaylynn, 16, a sophomore at Harlingen High School who is taking the introductory course.
“I liked doing nails but I am starting to do mannequins,” she said. “I like doing that even more.”
There’s apparently a great deal that trained cosmetologists can do with their skill.
“I want to be a makeup artist for famous stars,” Joe Brown, 17, said with a smile. “It’s fun doing hairstyles, very exciting. I think the hardest part is getting it perfect, how the customer wants it to be.”
The course also gives some students the chance to make their lives more to their liking.
“I’ve always wanted to do this,” Deisy said. “When I heard about this class I thought, ‘I’ve got an opportunity.’ I am glad we are going to have our license.”