Senior Cosmetology student, Alyssa Harshman (Delphos Jefferson), offers a spa pedicure to a client of the Avantagé salon. Vantage Cosmetology students offer many hair and beauty services and manage the salon Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every week. (Photo Credit: Miriam Owens, Vantage Community Relations Coordinator)
Senior Cosmetology student, Alyssa Harshman (Delphos Jefferson), offers a spa pedicure to a client of the Avantagé salon. Vantage Cosmetology students offer many hair and beauty services and manage the salon Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every week. (Photo Credit: Miriam Owens, Vantage Community Relations Coordinator)
VAN WERT — Walking into the Avantagé Salon at Vantage Career Center you discover a salon which offers an assortment of services. In addition to hair care, hair cuts and styling, students also provide manicures, gel polish, pedicures, and permanents. More specialty services provided include hair coloring, facials, paraffin dipping, tea tree and deep conditioning treatments and even aromatherapy.

Olivia Paschall, a senior from Paulding High School, was introduced to cosmetology as a sophomore and enjoys providing skin care services. “I want to do this for now,” she said, “and then go back to school to specialize in aesthetics.” An aesthetician works at a salon or spa and provides specialized skin care treatments.

For Alyssa Harshman, a senior from Delphos Jefferson, coming to Vantage was a no-brainer. “I’ve always liked to doing hair and nails. I just thought why not go to school for it — something I enjoy doing,” she said. While she has learned hair care, she said she really enjoys doing nails.

Emily Brower, a Crestview senior, also wanted to attend Vantage. “I’m more of a hands-on learner and they teach really hands-on here. I just really like doing hair so I thought this would be a good place to come,” she said. She went on to say that anyone thinking about coming to Vantage should come. “I was scared at first but then I really enjoyed coming here.” She said after graduation she plans to work in a salon.

Susie Smith, the senior cosmetology instructor, partners with Amy Grothouse, the junior cosmetology instructor, to instruct the students. “Mrs. Grothouse, the junior teacher, teaches them all the ‘nuts and bolts’ and then I kinda teach them how to put that information all together,” Smith said. She added that in the senior year, students do more skin and nail care services. Once students have 1,500 hours of instruction, they can go before the state board, take their test, and upon passing, receive their license. The value in coming to Vantage as a cosmetology student is that the certifications and licenses can be earned by students at no cost.

In addition to providing students with experience, the salon offers members of the public an opportunity to enjoy the salon experience. Smith said, “I hear a lot of ‘oh, I wish I would’ve done this sooner,’ ‘I wish I would’ve known this was here,’ and ‘how can you do this at such a low cost?’ I hear that the students are great, that they love to watching the students work and learn.”

The salon is mandated by the state to always use a disinfectant and perform hand washing and sanitizing between clients so COVID has not had much of an impact on salon procedures. “For us in the salon, it wasn’t that big of a change because we always have had to do that,” Smith said. She added that if clients feel more comfortable wearing masks and want students and instructors to do so as well that is fine.

Cosmetology seniors manage the salon from 8:30 - 11 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays weekly and are currently scheduling appointments. Anyone interested in scheduling an appointment can call 419-238-5411 ext. 2003. Appointments are required. If school is delayed, cosmetology services are canceled for the day.