Adults learn how to relax

Brian Lewis leaned back on a leather reclining chair while his daughter Kayla took a seat behind him.

She put a glob of cleansing cream in the palm of her hand and began massaging it onto her father's face. When she got to his beard, she hesitated.


"Can I rub the cream into this stuff?" the 15-year-old said. Her father chuckled and assured Kayla that she could.

Lewis was one of about 18 parents and grandparents who attended the ninth annual "Day of Pampering" offered by students enrolled in the licensed cosmetology class at Harford Technical High School in Bel Air.


Although he was a willing participant, Lewis was not aware of the day's events until he was driving his daughter to school from their Bel Air home.

"On the way here, Kayla told me I was going to get a facial and a manicure," said Lewis, who works as a materials handler. "I was not prepared in advance, but I could not disappoint my daughter. So here I am."

The two-hour event is held each December and gives students an opportunity to pamper an adult of their choice with services that could include a manicure, a pedicure, a hairstyle, cholesterol treatments and a facial. They also served cookies and other treats throughout the session.

"This program gives the students a chance to show their parents what they have accomplished since September," said Connie Withrow, the cosmetology teacher who started the program when she came to the school nine years ago.

"These girls ... do not work or have money, so this is a chance for them to give something to their parents or family members, and they just love it."

During the course -- which begins in the sophomore year and continues through the senior year -- students must accumulate 1,500 hours of training in skills such as scalp treatments, hair styling, cutting, tinting and bleaching, facials, manicuring and massaging.

Other course requirements include: daily practice on mannequins, students and visiting senior citizens; working at area salons through the cooperative work experience; receiving presentations from professionals; participating in competitions; and taking trips to New York City and Baltimore to hair and trade shows.

Instruction is designed to qualify students for the Maryland State Licensing Exam at the end of their senior year, Withrow said. When they finish the program and pass the exam, the students can become licensed cosmetologists in Maryland.


Meanwhile, the students giving facials placed slices of cucumber over their parents' eyes and rubbed their temples.

"Honey, I am losing my cucumbers," Lewis called to his daughter.. He turned toward Forest Hill resident Karyn Hoffman who was waiting for her daughter, Casie, and said, "Does your face feel tighter yet?"

As they waited, some parents tested the knowledge of their budding young cosmetologists by asking them questions about the treatments.

"Why do you put these creams on the face when you do a facial?" Trish Reichart asked her daughter Allison. When she did not get an immediate response, she chuckled and said, "I feel like an experiment. Allison did a great job putting the stuff on, but she does not know why she has to put the creams and lotions on yet. But I think she is doing a great job after only 200 hours of work. It is nice to get to see that she has learned so much."

As she began massaging a moisturizer onto her mother's face, Allison said, "This lotion softens the lines and wrinkles on your face, Mom. It is just what you need."

On the other side of the classroom, Edgewood resident Candie Lackey was getting a pedicure from her daughter, Megan.


"This is the most attention she has ever given me," said Candie, draped in a pink plastic cover. "Usually she locks herself in her bedroom, so I am loving this time. And what she is doing feels good."

And Kim Campbell, who was being pampered by her granddaughter, concurred.

"This is so great, I think they should do it once a month," she said. "I think we should send in our friends and get them to do this all the time."

Anita Byrd of Joppatowne -- who was getting a cholesterol treatment for her hair from her daughter, Meagan -- said it was a chance to critique her daughter. A parent is a child's best critic, she said.

"... She is doing very well. I am very pleased with what she has learned."

Baldwin resident Eden Sykes, who was getting rollers put in her hair by her daughter Ashley Slocum said she loved her day of spa treatments.


"All students should have to go to a tech school," she said. "Then all the kids would be employable when they finish high school."

Dana Temple of Darlington said the activity with her daughter Lindsey was a treat.

"I never do this kind of thing for myself," she said. "I am very pleased. It is a lot more calm and relaxed than I expected it to be. It has just been a lot of fun."