'Spa Day' provides funds for tsunami relief

By Janice Steinhagen - Staff Writer
- posted Tue., May. 3, 2011
Norwich Tech senior Henry Hoffacker shampoos the hair of classmate David Breault as part of a 'spa day' fundraiser for victims of the tsunami in Japan. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.
Norwich Tech senior Henry Hoffacker shampoos the hair of classmate David Breault as part of a 'spa day' fundraiser for victims of the tsunami in Japan. Photos by Janice Steinhagen.

A day at the spa for a good cause proved to be a win-win situation at Norwich Technical High School’s hairdressing, barbering and cosmetology department on May 2.

Junior and senior students earmarked the fees for their salon services that day to the American Red Cross’s efforts at tsunami relief in Japan.

They got plenty of takers - customers whose requests ranged from a simple haircut and shampoo to eyebrow waxing, manicures and pedicures, and even hair coloring.

Students and teachers from Ridley-Lowell Institute’s massage therapy program pitched in to offer chair massages, and beauty technicians from Balance Hair Studio in Taftville volunteered as hairdressers - and as customers. One student even brought her manicure tools to the school nurse’s office, since the nurse couldn’t leave her post.

The project was spearheaded by senior student Henry Hoffacker, who last year led his classmates in raising $545 for the Red Cross’s Haiti earthquake relief effort.

“It’s great for [the students] to have these fundraisers,” said hairdressing teacher Susan Fox. “It’s good for them to learn that.”

Among the clients was Norwich Tech guidance counselor Krys Konow, who managed to squeeze a pedicure into her school schedule. She had high praise for the students’ efforts.

“What’s tremendous is the level of professionalism in terms of customer service,” she said. Students will sit down with a client to fully discuss the desired look and work to achieve that look, she said. “It’s like coming into a regular salon.”

She said that many of the seniors, including Hoffacker, have developed career plans that include college studies in business to enable them to become entrepreneurs. “They’ve all taken their [certification] boards,” said Konow. “They have a really impressive level of professionalism and dedication to their trade. They’re really cool kids.”

Hoffacker, who already works part time at Balance Salon, said that the salon at the school is open to the public by appointment, Tuesday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. “We have lower prices [than a commercial salon] because we’re a school, but that doesn’t mean we don’t do amazing work,” he said.

According to Fox, the project netted $819.


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