The Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC) has been busy giving back in recent months through its cosmetology program, thanks to educator Angela Commeans, who is over the program and is also a SkillsUSA advisor for her school.
The group’s biggest efforts have come from care packages being mailed to the 77th Expeditionary Fighter Generation Squadron, who are currently deployed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The care packages have been seasonal, with Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and now St. Patrick’s Day being covered. They will now move onto Easter, as they continue to spread joy to heroes serving across seas.
“We started this school year’s giving around Christmas,” Commeans explained. “We got little stockings and candy and other donations, like packets of sunscreen or stress balls—things you don’t often think about. For Valentine’s Day, we got childcare involved and they wrote little Valentine’s Day cards to the squadron, along with candy and treat bags. We also just sent some out for St. Patrick’s Day that included things like green beads and chocolate coins and little things that would be fun and offer some normalcy.”
The teacher explained that there is a connection with her son, who is also deployed. It began when Commeans and her family began sending frequent packages to her son, who suggested she do so less frequently, since not every gets care packages.
“One of his fellow airmen and friends commented that he got packages about everyday, and my son suggested we slow down,” Commeans recalled. “I was like, ‘No, you know what we’ll do? We’ll send everybody stuff!’ We later heard back from them, saying how much they appreciate it, because some don’t get any packages at all and receiving some token showing they’re cared about means a lot.”
Commeans collected a lot through Facebook, she had her students hosting drives, and leaned a lot on the school and overall community.
“It felt so heartwarming. It felt very good and like we were giving back to those people who are over there protecting us. We want to give them some sense of normalcy that we often just take for granted,” Commeans said. “Plus, the students love it, too. When I first started, I wasn’t sure if they’d even want to get involved, but they’ve since begun asking about providing bags for different holidays and occasions. They are very willing to help. We were working on patriotism and compassion as a skillset to develop and I think they’ve accomplished that with flying colors.”
The students are currently working on an Easter gift for the squadron and will then retire the program for the year, as school will be ending and the squad will also be returning home. This is the second year for giving the gifts.
The students also recently put their professional skill sets to use, by dressing the hair of nearly 100 individuals with disabilities who were enjoying the “Night to Shine” event in Waverly, which benefited Scioto, Pike, Jackson and Ross County residents for those 14 and older.
“The Tim Tiebo Foundation actually reached out to us and asked for help. We thought this was a no brainer, because we do the Vern Riffe Schools Prom and students love it,” Commeans said. “We had over 100 people there, so we took both cosmetology classes to give back. We had the culinary arts students prepare snacks and our students prepared their hair. It was really nice, because they had a grand march and everything.”
Commeans said she loves these types of projects, because it gets her students in the community giving back, while also practicing their trades.
“It felt amazing. I was very proud of our students for stepping up. When I asked my students, because I always ask them, since it is more work and time dedicated by them, they were all unanimously excited to help. Every single one said yes,” Commeans explained. “Also, it is just a wonderful service, because it gives them an opportunity to practice hair.”
There was also a special moment between one student and those she helped.
“We have one student with cochlear implants and struggles with hearing,” Commeans recalled. “It was heartwarming, because we were working with the disabled and some had hearing aides that had to come out, so she was able to sign with them and talk about what they wanted done with their hair.”
The Night to Shine event was dependent on the organization, and appreciative, because they couldn’t find any other hairdresser available to assist. Commeans said that her students weren’t going to let the Night to Shine participants go without.
“I feel like this shows how much we like to give back and how much we support our community,” Commeans said. “The willingness of our students to volunteer is just amazing.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved