Douglas Education Center’s Cosmetology Program Graduate: Rhonda Bergman
Cosmetology Program Graduate
Rhonda Bergman is a 2011 graduate of Douglas Education Center’s Cosmetology Program
Douglas Education Center Programs give students the tools needed to succeed and prepare them for a career after school. This can’t be truer for Rhonda Bergman a 2011 graduate of the Cosmetology Program. Prior to enrolling at DEC, she already owned a tanning business in operation since 2008; however, Rhonda shared insight into that business by saying, “The one downfall to having a tanning business was the fact that it’s only beneficial during certain times of the year. The business just fluctuated too rapidly. Either you had a lot of people or you didn’t.” She wanted something that was beneficial all year around, so that’s when she decided to go to cosmetology school. Being that she already had the business in place it wasn’t hard to add the hair and nails to complement the tanning portion of the business. So, that’s when Rhonda started researching cosmetology programs.
It didn’t take long before Rhonda found herself at DEC. After all, it was close to home, but that didn’t keep her from looking at other schools. It was upon touring DEC that she knew it was the place for her to continue her education. Rhonda recalls, “The school was newly remodeled and that made DEC really stand out.” She goes on to say, “The staff was so friendly and the student salon was just so pretty. I also felt the programs here didn’t just focus on kids who were coming out of high school. I felt they focused on everyone. It didn’t matter what anyone’s age was. It felt very inclusive.” Rhonda enrolled in DEC’s Cosmetology Academy Program in 2010.
As with most programs at DEC, the students are exposed to hands-on experiences which Rhonda fondly remembers. “It was my first client ever. The client was a lady who had hair down to the middle of her back, if not further, and she wanted a full set of foils. I was standing there thinking…it’s my first time doing hair and she has to have a lot of it! This is what I’m getting myself into! It ended up turning out great. It was definitely a memorable moment and I loved every minute of it!” Another memory that stands out for Rhonda is when she was getting ready to do her portfolio. She says, “They allowed our family and friends to come to the school and we got to doll them up and do their hair and make-up. We took pictures of them and it was just so much fun!”
DEC also prides itself in having knowledgeable instructors that guide each student positively through their experience. For Rhonda, when asked who made an impact during her time at DEC, Karen Nelson came to mind. “I feel like I learned the most from Karen. I could probably recite the color wheel backwards and forwards and it’s all because of her. She was also so nice and taught us appropriately; meaning that if I’m going to school and paying for it I want to make sure I’m learning something. Being in class with Karen was like that. I knew I was learning what I needed, and it wasn’t just information to pass the boards. It was everything!” It was because of this teaching style that Rhonda felt she didn’t need to work anywhere else before starting up the salon portion of her business. “I just felt Karen fully prepared me to be comfortable with coloring hair and everything else I needed. I was just ready to do my thing.”
Before getting out and doing her thing, her time at Douglas was not without hardship. When she was in school, Rhonda gave birth to her third child. Rhonda tells of the difficult time that followed, “My daughter Savanah was born with a heart defect and had to have open heart surgery the night she was born and that was just the first of a couple surgeries she had to have. On top of all this I still had school to think about. My mom wanted me to take a semester off after all this happened. She told me I could always go back but something inside me feared that if I left I would never go back. So I decided to push through. My daughter was able to come home but with a feeding tube so I had to make sure someone was there to watch her and take care of her while I went to class.” This is where she said the teachers at Douglas were wonderful. “They really helped me deal with everything and got me through school. In the end I’m really glad I pushed through because now everything in life is good. My daughter is healthy and so are my other children. As a family we are comfortable and I love my job. I feel sometimes in life you just got to do what you got to do to get to the happy place and that’s where I am.”
Personally, Rhonda’s family motivates her to be the best she can be. Professionally, her clients motivate her. That is why Rhonda goes to hair shows, takes continuing educational courses and attends cutting classes at CosmoProf and places in Monroeville that offer Brazilian Blowout classes. She likes to attend these courses because she feels that she can still learn things to better herself. Her children are what she is most proud of, naturally; however, Rhonda also added, “I would have to say I’m also proud of my career and the success associated with that. I also find myself proud of where I find myself at this point in my life.”
When asked where she sees herself in five years, Rhonda states, “I would like to get my teaching license and teach part-time. I would like to manage my salon and have a couple employees working for me who could watch the shop, especially on days that I teach.” When speaking of teaching she says, “I feel that I would just enjoy it because I feel that I would get along great with the students and be able to teach them well.”
Undoubtedly, Rhonda is a self-starter. Her early success in her tanning business has carried over to her current business, and a lot of her clientele followed her in the transition. Her hard work and desire has led her to a point where she is running her own business and happy doing so! Congratulations Rhonda…2011 Douglas Education Center Cosmetology Academy Program Graduate!