One of the challenges of the pandemic for schools like Old Colony Vocational Technical High School in Rochester is that it has cut down on the amount of real world experience many of its students can acquire.

Normally, the cosmetology students at Old Colony have the opportunity to do manicures, pedicures, cuts and colors on staff members and members of the general public. COVID-19 restrictions, however, have made it impossible for the school to open its doors to service people in the community.

Tammy Hoyle and Jessica Bearce are both cosmetology instructors at the school. When they noticed that "School Lunch Hero Day" was coming up, they decided it would be a perfect way to not only pamper the seven women who make up the cafeteria staff, it would also be a great opportunity for the junior class to get some hands-on experience.

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On Wednesday, the staff enjoyed free paraffin hand dips. Old Colony's Nutrition Director, Crystal Andrade, said the staff was super excited for the treat.

"After the year they've had putting extra time and care into making sure the cafeteria was always safe and healthy, it was really nice," Andrade said.

It is estimated that the school's cafeteria had packed upwards of 30,000 lunches over the course of the year to send home with the students during remote learning. Their hands were certainly in need of some tender, loving care.

Four members of the junior class dipped their hands in wax and the staff sat with their mitts on for 15 minutes. The wax is then removed and the students applied lotion and massaged the hands of the cafeteria workers.

Each cafeteria worker was presented with a makeup gift bag containing mascara, eye liner, eye shadow and lipstick.

During more normal times, the cosmetology department is open to the public for a full range of services at greatly discounted prices. The program is only allowed to charge for the products used, not the labor. It's not unusual to get a manicure or a haircut for $3.

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