Canada News

Get the latest new in Candada


Bridging the gap: High school students push for inclusive cosmetology class

In an Airdrie, Alta., high school, a group of students are sparking a crucial conversation about the lack of diversity in cosmetology education. With a focus on textured hair styling, they are challenging the status quo and advocating for change within Alberta’s educational system.

Aeesha Patterson came up with the idea for a specialized Afro-textured hair class at W.H. Croxford High School, where she is a grade 11 student.

“I’ve been wanting to do this since grade 9,” said Patterson. “I didn’t know how to properly execute it until this year. The timing was never right and we didn’t have the proper tools to do it.”

For many Black women, hair is more than just strands: it’s a symbol of self-empowerment and an integral part of their identity.

As one student, Lesly Maffuenni, puts it, “My hair is my personality. So, if I don’t have my hair, my personality goes.”

Story continues below advertisement

Patterson reached out to her aunt, Tenecia Atkins, who used Tenny’s Beauty Bar to teach the three-part course.

“I feel like the industry is very much lacking and if we are going to be promoting the next generation of hairstylists, high school is where it starts,” said Atkins.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

Atkins is questioning why Alberta’s cosmetology programs aren’t adequately training future hairstylists to work with all hair types.

“Hair doesn’t come in one texture. It doesn’t come in one length. It doesn’t come in one colour,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Empowering Beauty: Top picks from Black-owned brands'

Empowering Beauty: Top picks from Black-owned brands

Through lessons on concepts like shrinkage, silk press and protective styles, Atkins aims to normalize the understanding and treatment of textured hair in all cosmetology programs.

While progress is being made, challenges remain.

Story continues below advertisement

A petition to include more modules on Black hair was launched by Chloe Streit in 2020 led to a campaign called Curls and Coils for Cosmetology. It successfully raised money to equip nine cosmetology programs at Calgary Board of Education schools with a number of textured hair mannequins as a shared classroom resource for students to work on.

But still, the Alberta Advanced Education licensing requirements for hairstylists does not include comprehensive training on textured hair, highlighting the need for curriculum adjustments.

Students emphasize that the impact of inclusive hair education extends beyond aesthetics. For many, it’s about confidence and feeling at home in their own skin.

“It means a lot to me, genuinely,” said Patterson, when asked about styling her hair. “When someone knows how to do my hair, it means a lot.”

“For the longest time I had no confidence, because my hair was damaged,” added Maffeunni. “So when Tenny came in to the class, I felt at home.”

Patterson envisions a future where learning about textured hair is a permanent fixture in school curriculums, ensuring that all students have the knowledge and skills to work with diverse hair types.


More on Calgary

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

View original article here Source