At times, Johnny Huynh feels a little out of place in the nail technology program at Valley View High School. As one of only two males in the class, he said relating to the girls in the program can be difficult.

At times, Johnny Huynh feels a little out of place in the nail technology program at Valley View High School. As one of only two males in the class, he said relating to the girls in the program can be difficult.

“It certainly is a new experience for me, but I have learned a lot and have really enjoyed the program,” said Huynh, whose parents own a nail salon in Blue Springs. “I am a very social person, so working with other people is what I enjoy the most. I like having conversations with the clients and will hopefully get my license at the end of the year so I can go work with my parents.”

The nail technology program began in 2006 with only 10 students. Housed in the Hall-McCarter Education Center, there are now more than 20 students split between a morning and afternoon session.

Upon completion of the year-long program, students will be qualified to take the state board of certification exam through the Missouri Board of Cosmetology. At least 400 hours of instruction is required to sit for the exam.

But the program is more than just learning from a book. After 50 hours of what instructor April Lombardo calls “theory classes,” students are able to work on actual clients in The View nail salon. The salon, which is open to the public, allows students to experience hands-on training in addition to their normal coursework.

Lombardo said it is a unique experience for the students.

“This is run like an actual nail salon,” she said. “It teaches them how to interact with customers, make appointments, get to work on time and how to present themselves in a professional manner. Eighty percent of success in this business is communicating with the client and having a good personality. This helps them learn how to do that.”

Services range from $8 for a manicure and $13 for a basic pedicure to $17 for a spa manicure or fiberglass wrap. Students also offer paraffin wax dips, nail art design and acrylic nail sets.

Lombardo said one of the benefits to the program is offering students a better way to earn money once they get into college. She said she has one graduate attending school in Massachusetts who is doing nails in the dormitory for extra money and another who is working at Beauty Brands part-time while in college.

“There are other options for students than just waiting tables,” she said. “This is something they can do and work around their class schedules. It is a good source of income for our graduates.”

Andrea Piveral, a senior at Valley View High School, said she entered the nail technology program because she has always known that she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother and grandmother, who are in the profession. She said her plan is to work at Beauty Brands after graduation because of the benefits and advance training opportunities available.

“I like to see the smiles on people’s faces when they see the finished product,” she said. “It is not just everywhere that you have a nail salon in your school. Having this kind of opportunity is great especially with the rising costs of education.”

Felicia McCubbins, a senior at Blue Springs High School, said she is thankful for the program because it gives students “real experience.” She said she enjoys working with the people as well as learning about the connections between nails and the rest of the body.

“Your nails and hair tell a lot about you. You can look at your fingernails and know what part of your body is not working right,” she said. “I think it is awesome that you can get out of high school and have another option to make money. This is a great opportunity to even have in high school, and I think that we are all thankful for that.”

Pamela Charles, an employee at the Blue Springs School District Transportation Center, said she learned of The View from a flyer. She said she feels the service was professional and is definitely something she will do again.

“This is a much more relaxed atmosphere than other nail salons,” she said. “I think this is a great opportunity for students because not everyone is cut out for college. This, and other programs like it, give kids a chance to find their niche.”

The View, 5000 N.W. Valley View Road, is open from 8 to 10 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. In addition, it is open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every third Saturday and from 6 to 8 p.m. every other Monday and Tuesday nights.

For more information or to make an appointment, call 816-224-1422. Walk-ins are welcome.