Every year, MODERN SALON Media pays tribute to great work being done by leading cosmetology schools via its Excellence in Education recognition program. Hundreds of applications are submitted by individual and multi-unit schools across the country, and for 2015, 38 schools were named honorees in eight categories ranging from Community Service to Placement to Technology.
MODERN SALON Media Vice President/Group Publisher Steve Reiss announced the 2015 Excellence in Education top honorees on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at the AACS Annual Convention & Expo in Phoenix, Arizona.
Excellence in Education was created in conjunction with a partnership between Modern Salon Media and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS); the program helps the school community collect and share examples of great work being done across the country.
Two top honorees—one individual school location, and a multi-location school organization—were recognized in each of the eight categories.
In the Community Involvement category, cosmetology schools work hard to be active, vibrant members of the community through volunteering services, putting on fashion shows, raising awareness for important causes and more.
The top Community Involvement honorees this year were Summit Salon Academy in Tacoma, WA, for individual locations; and Empire Education Group in Pottsville, PA, for multi-unit schools. However, all of the 2015 honorees had inspiring ideas to share.
From Earth day to breast cancer awareness month, schools are donating time, services and money to national charities on a local level, connecting with community members and building relationships. Many schools have chosen a special charity to work with for personal reasons—whether it’s because the owner is connected in some way or because an employee or student has been directly affected—and these charities are served with a particular passion and loyalty.
Summit Salon Academy students styled models for the 2015 Justice & Soul Fashion SOULstice event.
Here are just a few of the great ideas found in the 2015 Excellence in Education entries:
Community Involvement in individual locations
- Cosmetology careers at Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy, Plano, TX: High school students enrolled in a cosmetology program visit the school to see how it operates and receive complementary haircuts during tour.
- Supporting survivors of domestic abuse at Razzle Dazzle College of Hair Design, Nampa, ID: In an annual event, the school provides services to survivors of domestic violence and increase community awareness of the problem. The weeklong event donates all profit from haircut services to the County Victims Against Persons Unit at the county sheriff’s office.
- Voices against violence at Empire Beauty School, Framingham, MA: Students received names/ages of families and wish lists and bought holiday gifts. They also bought wrapping supplies so moms could participate. The school also donates clothing and food to help stock shelter shelves. Shelter residents are also given complementary haircuts throughout the years.
- Clara House at Empire Beauty School, Greensboro, NC: This local domestic violence shelter is sponsored during the Empire Gives Back program. The school also sponsors food drives, toy drives, back-to-school haircuts for children in the shelter and more.
- Local involvement at Eric Fisher Academy, Wichita, KS: EFA does hair and make-up for local high school plays, a blood drive twice yearly and offers two make-up how-to workshops a year.
- Rescue mission at Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy, Albuquerque, NM: Provide haircuts to local homeless and families looking for employment twice a year.
- Partner program at Pulse Beauty Academy, Downington, PA: Pulse is considered a founding funder of Wings for Success, a non-profit that assists disadvantaged women entering the workforce. Students provide hair and make-up services to the women.
- Appreciation events and nights out at DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology, West Springfield, MA: The school participated in a local hospital’s nurses’ appreciation day, an elementary school’s teacher appreciation week, a radio station’s diva’s night out, and a local business’s ladies’ night.
- Fashion event at Summit Salon Academy, Tacoma, WA: The academy students created and styled looks for two models in the 2015 Justice & Soul Fashion SOULstice event, an event dedicated to raising money to fund continued operations at a cosmetology school in Cambodia that provides sustainable skills to young survivors of sex trafficking.
- Homeless veteran events at Clary Sage College, Tulsa, OK: Two different events feature free haircuts, groceries and other services to thousands of residents.
- Local and global donations at Cameo College of Essential Beauty, Murray, UT: The school has volunteered, raised money and provided services for associations like Women in Business, Volunteers of America, Williams Syndrome, Cancer Wellness House, Utah Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Utah AIDS Foundation among others.
- Phoenix Children's Hospital support at Penrose Academy, Scottsdale, AZ: As the school’s charity of choice (chosen specifically by the owners, whose son was born prematurely) the hospital benefits from donations on professional denim day and from the school’s no-tipping policy (Penrose suggests donations to the hospital in lieu of a tip). Penrose’s Dream Team attends the hospital’s end-of-year dance and the Academy also adopts a family from the NICU where students and staff donate gifts, clothing and gift cards.
Empire Education Group's National Day of Beauty has raised close to $1 million for anti-domestic violence programs.
Community Involvement in multi-unit schools
- Tips for a cause at Nurtur Aveda Institutes, Columbus, OH: In lieu of tip, guests can donate to charity of the month. Since 2004, this program has generated $1.65 million for local charities.
- $1 Million scholarship program at Paul Mitchell Schools, Sandy, UT: Schools donate time and talent to a variety of causes, donating more than $15.2 million in the past 12 years. Because of their commitment to give back, Paul Mitchell Schools will award more than $1 million in scholarships this year.
- National day of beauty at Empire Education Group, Pottsville, PA: This huge fundraiser provides 100 percent of student salon profits for the day to local shelters. Close to $1 million in cash and donations has been provided to anti-domestic violence programs.
- Military makeovers at Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy, Plano, TX: Students donated their time to give back to veterans and their families with complimentary cuts and color.
- Beauty Gives Back Foundation at Bellus Academy, Poway, CA: Bellus has teamed up with the foundation to raise funds for the Thirst Project, an organization that builds wells in Africa for clean water. Ted Gibson and his team will provide an advanced hands-on workshop at Bellus where 100 percent of the ticket sales will go to the Thirst Project.
- No More Project PSA at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, Oak Brook, IL: Tricoci developed a PSA for the national organization NO MORE Project and Chicago Says No More and did an awareness pledge drive through monthly salon and spa promotions.
To view the entire list of finalists, click here.