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Cosmo program earns national recognition

By MR. A

Special to the Hawk Highlights

  Modern Salon magazine has named GILA's cosmetology program as an honoree in the "Beauty Changes Lives" category in its 2012 Excellence in Education program. The GILA cosmetology program shared top honors with a college in Utah.

  "This is absolutely fantastic," said Wilma Omnik, GILA's cosmetology teacher.

  "I'm proud of all of our accomplishments here," she said during her third period Introduction to Cosmetology class on Dec. 6. "I'm really proud of my students for making this happen. They've really given 100 percent."

  The annual award from Modern Salon recognizes leadership and best practices among cosmetology schools, according to the magazine's website. There were eight categories of honoraries, and schools were categorized according to size and type of school. The list of honorees was announced earlier this fall at the American Association of Cosmetology School's annual convention in Orlando, Fla. The magazine's announcement is available by clicking here.

  Ms. Omnik teaches more than 80 students in the cosmetology building located on the GILA campus. She has three Introduction to Cosmetology classes, as well as classes in Cosmetology for Ninth and Tenth Graders, Cosmetology for Eleventh and Twelfth Grades, and Advanced Cosmetology. Students not only learn skills in their coursework, but they also serve the community by providing haircuts, styling, manicure, and other services found in a salon.

  Students can and have graduated from Galena with the requisite skills and knowledge needed to obtain a license to practice cosmetology in the state of Alaska.

  The workload is rigorous, said Ms. Omnik. In order to be eligible to take the written and practical tests for the license, Galena high school students are required to put in 1,650 hours of work.

  That workload includes 250 hours of haircutting, 180 hours of wet hair styling and drying, 180 hours of thermal hair styling and drying, along with many hours on other skills ranging from hair coloring, beard trimming, application of make-up, and the use of chemicals to straighten hair.

  Ms. Omnik has been teaching cosmetology at GILA since January 2012.

Senior Elizabeth Jerue uses the cosmo models to practice her hairstyling skills.
Advanced cosmetology student Lynnette Strickland, a senior, works with Laurel Smith, a senior from Anchorage.
Cosmetology models in the cosmo classroom.
The cosmetology students with teacher Wilma Omnik in her third period Introduction to Cosmetology class.
Photos by Mr. A