FARMINGTON — All hands were on deck as cosmetology students at San Juan College handled a steady stream of customers looking for a new hair style, a facial and work done on their nails during their Hair Cut-A-Thon benefit Saturday.

The 32 stations in the salon of the cosmetology program were busy through out the day as students practiced their skills and raise funds to help them off to the SkillsUSA competition next year.

"We've been really busy," Coordinator Nikki Roddy said. "We've had a lot of people come in, good support from the community."

Nearly all the students in the cosmetology were up bright and early as the doors to the salon opened at 8 a.m., with a steady stream of customers coming through the door. Manicures and facials were on the menu for the first time this year, with Roddy having a desire to showcase the students do more than just hair.

According to Roddy, this is the fourth or fifth Hair Cut-A-Thon to be held, with the first one initiated as a way to help area veterans. The stylists still offer a free haircut to veterans and those who serve in the armed services who brought their military identification.

Sophomore Nicole Chacon said the salon operates during the week by appointment but with the introduction of walk-ins for the benefit, the day was a little crazier for the students.

"It's been a pretty crazy day actually," Chacon said. "We don't know how busy we'll be, we usually have it all planned out. At least have a game plan.



Roddy said the slightly chaotic nature of the event will help provide the students another opportunity to learn about the obstacles involved in working with a salon after graduation.

"I know they are going to be good," Roddy said. "It's great for the students to go out and show off their skills to get better at what they love to do."

It's those skills the students put to the test at the SkillsUSA competition, a vocational education conference and skills contest the students have performed well at in the past.

Last year, the program won six gold medals at the state competition. Roddy said the high school and college program took home three gold medals each in cosmetology, esthetics (facials) and nail care.

"We were able to go to nationals and we took 10 students to Kansas City, Mo.," Roddy said. "That costs a lot of money and the girls work for it."

An Adjunct Faculty for Humanities at the college, Cynthia Rapp Sandhu stopped by after her morning meeting and decided on a manicure.

While one of the students was working on her nails, Rapp Sandhu said she didn't realize there was a full salon open to the public ran by the students on campus. She was informed of the benefit from a inter-office email.

"It's great, they get to learn and we get to come in and help them learn," Rapp Sandhu said.