Nacogdoches High School students entering the cosmetology program this year can begin work on obtaining 33 college hours before graduating in 2026, part of a plan that will also earn an Applied Science in Cosmetology degree through Lamar State College in Orange, near Beaumont.
“The partnership with Lamar State College-Orange is a game-changer for our cosmetology students, unlocking a multitude of exciting opportunities,” said Nacogdoches ISD’s Director of College & Career Readiness. “Our program has already paved the way for students to secure their cosmetology license and embark on successful career paths. However, this collaboration introduces an entirely new dimension, offering them the chance to evolve into business owners and acquire additional skills that will help shape their futures.”
Students enter the school’s cosmetology program as sophomores, leaving three full years to obtain the 33 hours of college credit to obtain the degree. Four juniors – members of the Class of 2025 – also entered the program, with the understanding they will have additional work to catch up with the required college credit.
“[Lamar] told me if I have some juniors that want to do it, to put them in there,” said Jan Holland, the cosmetology teacher at NHS.
The course work doesn’t look that much different than what NHS cosmetology students have been doing under Holland. Much of her instructional plans were used by Lamar to create the program.
“They’ve just kind of followed the same plan,” she said.
Holland has a leadership role in the TIVA program (Texas Industrial Vocational Association), which provided a connection with Lamar leadership. So far, the process has been seamless for Holland, who’s in her 13th year teaching cosmetology at Nacogdoches High School.
“Any questions I’ve had, I call them and they answer,” said Holland. “They’ve been great.”
That’s a good thing because NHS officials had to move quickly earlier this year to launch the association in August. Lamar first approached NHS this summer, not long before the new school year was set to start. Holland worked with Van Valkenburgh to fast track the process of joining up with Lamar.
“I just didn’t want those students to miss out on the opportunity to start this now,” said Holland.
There’s no cost to students or Nacogdoches High School, Holland said. Lamar State College – initially an extension of Lamar University in nearby Beaumont – is affiliated with the Texas State University System.
After high school graduation, students can complete their associates degree at Lamar with an additional 30 or so hours. Or, if they’re interested, be well on their way to a four-year degree at Stephen F. Austin State University or another school.
“What’s truly remarkable is the avenue it creates for students to earn credits towards an associate’s degree while still in high school,” Van Valkenburgh said. “This not only accelerates their entry into the workforce but equips them with the essential skills and knowledge needed to excel as competent professionals in their chosen field. It’s a step that empowers each student to craft a unique journey towards their aspirations.”
(The agreement with Lamar is not the only pathway available in the CTE department for students to gain a degree or certification. This year was also the first time a law enforcement program is being offered through Angelina College, Van Valkenburgh said.)
Cosmetology students pursuing the associate degree after high school graduation will receive additional business, English and math courses, providing instruction and guidance on how to operate a small business.
“That’s going to help students a whole lot,” Holland said. “It’s going to be so valuable.”
Much of the post-high school graduation course work can be completed online, Holland said. The students may transfer to another college following graduation but would have to finish the last 6 hours through Lamar-Orange in order to receive the degree of plan.