ST. CHARLES – When Cindy Armato opened Cyndirella’s Academy of Style & Beauty in 2005, she wanted to graduate knowledgeable, confident students – the type of hairstylists she didn’t always encounter when she worked in hair salons.
“I want them to say, ‘Wow, you know everything you’re supposed to know,’ ” Armato said of her students’ future employers.
Framed certificates of her graduates line the walls on the academy’s second floor, where students do hands-on work such as cutting, coloring and styling.
In addition to teaching cosmetology, the St. Charles school offers education in aesthetics, nail technology and a barber course. The barber course is a recent addition, Armato said, noting it will be available to high school students next August.
Although afternoons at Cyndirella’s are usually busy training high school students from schools such as Geneva, St. Charles East and North, Batavia, West Aurora, Kaneland and Burlington, Armato said her students aren’t just young adults. They include mothers and those who have lost their jobs.
Because her students might have family commitments, jobs and other schooling, Armato said she offers flexible schedules and no homework.
Celeste Bollmann, 18, transferred to Cyndirella’s about two months ago and gives it a 10 out of 10, she said during class Wednesday.
“It’s so much better than my other school,” she said.
At Cyndirella’s, Bollmann said, she gets more one-on-one time with the teachers and practices on real clients, which lets her learn how to interact with them.
Students provide haircuts, coloring, perms, waxing, manicures, pedicures and styling under teacher supervision. Free haircuts are offered Wednesdays, and students also donate their services to senior citizens in Wayne Township and residents of Asbury Gardens in North Aurora.
“It gives my girls practice,” Armato said. “For them to get that experience, it’s huge.”
Students, however, still practice on mannequins. After an hour of classroom lessons Wednesday – they have a book to study that covers topics including wigs, sanitation and diseases – students gathered in a small group around Bollmann, who showed another student how to do a finger weave, a hairdo popular in the 1920s.
Cyndirella’s is at 1301 E. Main St. Visit www.cyndirellas.com for information.
Cyndirella's Academy of Style & Beauty
Address: 1301 E. Main St., St. Charles
Visit www.kcchronicle.com to see video from the academy.