Cosmetology students attending Ellicottville’s CTE Center were mentored by a panel of professionals in the industry at “Cosmetology Career Day,” Jan. 14. (Front, from left): Jennifer Bennett, regional educator for Fantastic Sam’s; Angie Shaver, owner/stylist, “Root 39,” Springville; Trinity Haynes, senior, Pioneer; Sarah Taft, senior, Catt-LV; Camryn Earley, junior, Ellicottville; Brianna Stutzman, junior, Pioneer. (Center, from left): Laurie Wagatha, Reiki Master/reflexologist, Wildwood Sanitarium, Salamanca; and Tracy Guntrum, cosmetology instructor, Ellicottville CTE center. (Back, from left): Stacey Rogers, owner of Fantastic Sam’s Arcade; Kourtney Shuman, master designer/colorist for Rusk and owner of “Modern Expressions Salon,” Bemus Point; Skylar Bennett, senior, Catt-LV; Brooke Wagatha, junior, Big Picture, Catt-LV; Katie Jennings, senior, Franklinville; J.P. Nabozny, owner of “The Barbershop Soli Deo Gloria,” Springville, and his daughter; Steve Lightcap and Dylan Mutton, recent graduates of the Barbering Program, Potter Career and Technical Center, West Seneca.

By Deb Everts

The Ellicottville Career and Technical Education (CTE) Center hosted “Cosmetology Career Day,” Jan. 14 when cosmetology professionals from the area were invited to discuss their careers with the students.

Among these professionals were J.P. Nabozny, owner of “The Barbershop Soli Deo Gloria” and Angie Shaver, owner and stylist, “Root 39,” both of Springville.

Tracy Guntrum, cosmetology instructor at Ellicottville’s CTE Center, said this was the first event of its kind at the center. She said she’d like to make this an annual event and possibly expand it from an afternoon to an entire day, next time.

“My wish for today is to open the eyes and to inspire our future cosmetologists,” she said.

Guntrum, along with several local leaders in the industry, set out to broaden the mindsets of the future cosmetologists who are currently attending the center.

This experience featured influential individuals from various cosmetology fields who mentored the students by sharing stories about their careers, specialties, passion, hard work, dedication, risks, failures, goals, achievements, education — past, present, and ongoing, along with words of wisdom or advice.

After the students questioned the panelists, guests had the opportunity to visit the classroom and clinic for a short tour.

In addition to Nabozny and Shaver, guest speakers in the program titled, “Behind the Chair and Beyond,” were Kourtney Shuman, a master designer and colorist for Rusk and owner of “Modern Expressions Salon” in Bemus Point; Laurie Wagatha, Reiki Master and reflexologist from the Wildwood Sanitarium in Salamanca; Stacey Rogers, owner of Fantastic Sam’s Arcade; and Jennifer Bennett, regional educator for Fantastic Sam’s.

Also presenting their experiences in the cosmetology field were Steve Lightcap and Dylan Mutton, both of Springville, who are recent graduates of the Barbering Program at the Potter Career and Technical Center in West Seneca. They are currently working in the apprenticeship program under J.P. Nabozny.

English teacher Jeannine King and Guntrum integrated an English lesson into the event, beginning with the students preparing an invitation for the speakers. She said they were graded on this, as well as their participation and the questions they prepared for the speakers.

“Speakers provide an opportunity for a classroom of students to hear firsthand about a particular occupation from a current practitioner in the field,” she said.

King said the cosmetology students participated in asking relevant and thoughtful questions they prepared in advance and completed a post-evaluation essay afterward. They created an outline, then wrote an essay relevant to the question they asked. She said this included three things they learned from the speakers, things that may have surprised them, and how it impacts their career.

Guntrum said she is in her third year of teaching Cosmetology at Ellicottville’s Career and Technical Educational Center. Between her junior and senior class, she has a total of 25 students. The event was attended by 12 of the 13 seniors in Guntrum’s class.

“I guess what inspired me to do this event was a meeting I had with my advisors, who are people from the cosmetology field,” she said. “As we left, I thought about these people and the success between them and myself.”

Guntrum said they graduated from Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and that said a lot to her. They are salon owners, educators and people who are successful in this field and started out at BOCES, she said.

“They can credit the beginning of their career back to BOCES,” she continued. “I think that’s amazing and I wanted to show these students the possibility of success. We are living proof of the success that BOCES has.”

Guntrum said she basically did this program for the awareness of the students because cosmetology, in general, is a huge umbrella. She wanted to open their eyes to the opportunities of all the different specialties that fall under that umbrella whether it’s barbering, owning a salon, being a nail technician, or a massage therapist.

“I just wanted to broaden their opportunities and let [the students] talk to people who have been where they’re at and the success they’ve achieved,” she said. “With the exception of one panelist, all the professionals are BOCES graduates.”

The students are encouraged to find an internship sponsor, Guntrum said, so attendees who own businesses in the cosmetology field were asked to consider sponsoring an intern from the technical center.

She said the advisory board is always looking for individuals to share input on industry changes, upcoming trends, service variations and events, so she talked to attendees about getting involved in this manner, as well.

The Ellicottville, Olean and Belmont career and technical education centers all offer the Cosmetology Program. To find out more about the program at the Ellicottville Center, call 376-8300 or visit online at