Navarro College is set to kick off its spring semester on Jan. 13. This new semester will bring with it new opportunities for students as well as members of the community.

One of those opportunities will be in the area of cosmetology and massage therapy. The cosmetology salon will open its doors to the public from 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Dr. Don Capone, assistant dean of business professionals and technical education said this is a great time for people in the community to take advantage of the low cost of the services provided by the cosmetology students, and a way to help those students gain hours for their internship.

“It is vital to the student and the success of their completion of the course for outside clients to come in,” Capone said. “They offer everything from hair cuts to manicures.”

Dean of Academic Services Terry Gibson also pointed out that Navarro College is the only public college offering cosmetology in the metroplex.

Capone inserted that customers can expect quality service for about half the cost during their experience at the cosmetology salon.

The college also offers a dual credit cosmetology course to qualifying high school students. The course is offered every afternoon at 3 p.m.

Capone was equally thrilled to discuss the massage therapy program and is anxiously awaiting the success stories pertaining to the clinic.

“In addition, we will be opening the massage therapy clinic on Feb. 5,” Capone said. “It will be open five days a week and clients will have their choice of four different kinds of massages.”

Those options include chair massages, deep tissue massages, hydrotherapy massages or a hot stone massage.

Another program that has proven to be very successful to NC is its dual credit program. Dr. Kenneth Martin attributes the success of the program to his faculty and the great partnerships they have with surrounding school districts.

“We have really great partnerships with the school districts in this county,” Martin said. “They do such a wonderful job of emphasizing smooth transitions from high school to college, and this is exactly what the dual credit program does.”

He said before they began focusing their efforts on the dual credit program, the college going rate was much lower than it is right now. He said that number has improved drastically, and it has become a high quality program of the college.

“We are well versed on what it takes for a student to begin their college career and how to navigate them in the direction in which they want and need to go,” Martin said. “A number of administrators don't have that type of knowledge.”

Gibson added they have been very fortunate to be a part of Ellis County, because they do a really great job of emphasizing education overall.

The program has continued to grow over the years, with as many as 1900 students participating at this time.

“We spend a lot of time working with counselors and parents during a parent night to help them navigate the system,” Gibson said.

One of the colleges' biggest student populations as it pertains to dual credit has been Waxahachie Global High School students.

Dual Credit Coordinator Renee Tribble said they are going to have 47 students from WGH who will graduate with an associate's degree and their high school diploma this spring.

In addition to the Waxahachie Independent School District, Navarro also has partnered with 10 other school districts and two private schools.

The continuing education department has also added some new classes to its course schedule this spring. Assistant Dean of Continuing Education and Protective Services Kristin Walker said those courses will range from product management to industrial technology, as well as some new health professional courses.

Dr. John Howe, assistant dean of student services said he is looking forward to the spring semester beginning, because it's the time of year they host the student-faculty softball game.

“This is something we as well as the students look forward to every year,” Howe said. “It gives the students an opportunity to see us outside of our professional duties.”

Howe said while the event is meant to boost morale and create better relationships between the faculty and students, things can get pretty competitive, and the faculty always looks to come out on top.

While his job involves promoting on campus student activities, Howe is also responsible for the national honor society organization Phi Theta Kappa. He said one of the great things about participating in this organization is all the scholarships that are made available to academically driven students.

“Students in PTK can take advantage of scholarships to help them advance their educational experience,” Howe said. “There is also a wonderful community service aspect that makes PTK a great organization to be a part of.”

He added there is also now an Ellis County chapter available for local PTK students.

Martin said he feels they are starting this semester ahead of last semester and are moving in a very positive direction.

“I'm very excited about the new programs being offered this semester,” he said. “The new building has been a great asset and has helped us meet the growth needs for Ellis County students.

He said the overall support of everyone in the community has been wonderful and they are looking forward to the future growth of the college, as they continue to meet the needs of the students.