'Coming out family': EMCC graduates 12 from cosmetology program

Graduates leave the stage on Friday at a ceremony for EMCC's cosmetology program (submitted)

The latest graduates from the EMCC cosmetology program (submitted)


The most recent graduating class from the cosmetology program at East Mississippi Community College only had 12 students, but the tight-knit group quickly became family over the course of the nine-month program.

A small graduation ceremony was held Thursday night in the Lyceum auditorium on the Golden Triangle campus, which saw cheers, tears and sighs of relief.

Graduate Jazlyn Douglas, of Brooksville, said long hours presented the biggest challenge for her graduating class, with students having to be on campus around 7:30 a.m. until after 5 p.m. five days a week.

But now that she has completed the program, Douglas will have a job doing hair at Jordan’s Barbershop in Columbus.

“It’s a really great program,” Douglas said. “I know they will have a really great teacher.”

That teacher is cosmetology instructor David Long, who students and parents alike praised for his patience and knowledge of skills required for success in the field.

Long told the Starkville Daily News this class has been unusual but rewarding.

“The most challenging thing is getting them to cut their mannequin’s hair,” Long laughed. “They had long mannequin hair and it would not cut, so getting them to do that was one of the most challenging things."

After getting to see the latest class walk across the stage, Long praised them for their work ethic.

“Once they accomplished a task it was great, like coloring hair, perming hair, cutting hair and then getting to the last day was a great accomplishment,” Long said.

Starkville native Cora Owen delivered student remarks during the ceremony and stressed the family atmosphere developed by the 12 classmates.

“They’ve been a really great group,” Owen said. “I’ve been to cosmetology school before and it’s shocking how quickly people that you don’t know can become a family. I’m just really going to miss them. You spend 10 hours a day with people, you’re going to come out hating each other or you’re going to come out family.”

Owen has already secured a job as a cosmetologist at the District Salon in Starkville and credited the program with helping her better understand the job market.

“They make a huge effort to make sure you get out there to local businesses to make sure you see what’s available, see what’s happening and it’s just been a really good year,” Owen said.

Owen’s father, Greg Tompkins, was on hand to watch his daughter deliver her speech and walk across the stage.

After the ceremony he praised the efficacy of the program in translating classroom learning into valuable job skills.

Tompkins and Owen both said she had gone through cosmetology school before, but this time at EMCC was different - primarily because of the instructor.

“I’ve watched her go through this program with more dedication as well as enthusiasm,” Tompkins said. “I think some of that belongs to the instructor. Mr. Long brought something to the group that I didn’t see the first time Cora went through it. I’m really looking forward to the fact she got a job, and the fact she is using this training going forward in life. It’s a proud moment for a parent.”


• Quinteria Sharice Baskin of Starkville

• Darion Sharice Bradley of Caledonia

• Mari Hunter Brown of Starkville

• Iviana Cattledge of Starkville

• Janaysha Dancer of Brooksville

• Jazlyn Simone Douglas of Brooksville

• Samantha Lee Hall of Caledonia

• Sabrina Lee of Columbus

• Alexis Renae Logan of Starkville

• Cora Joy Owen of Starkville

• Alexis Brook Spears of Caledonia

• Devonta Williams of Starkville