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SBCC student excels in program with motto ‘deaf can do it’

Ramirez+practices+styling+on+mannequins+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+25%2C+at+the+Santa+Barbara+Cosmetology+Academy+in+Goleta%2C+Calif.+Ramirez%27s+main+focus+in+the+program+is+hair+cuts+and+dyes.
Ramirez practices styling on mannequins on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Santa Barbara Cosmetology Academy in Goleta, Calif. Ramirez's main focus in the program is hair cuts and dyes.

Ramirez practices styling on mannequins on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Santa Barbara Cosmetology Academy in Goleta, Calif. Ramirez's main focus in the program is hair cuts and dyes.

Kailey Wilt

Kailey Wilt

Ramirez practices styling on mannequins on Wednesday, Feb. 25, at the Santa Barbara Cosmetology Academy in Goleta, Calif. Ramirez's main focus in the program is hair cuts and dyes.

MEGAN FITZMORRIS, Channels staff

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Every hair is perfectly in place and small earrings frame his face, while thin black lines under his eyes demonstrates a classic makeup technique. His tall slender frame is clothed in all black, matching his dark hair and eyes, as his hands began moving with ease, ready to communicate about his life.

Armando Ramirez, who goes by Angelo, is the only man enrolled in City College’s Cosmetology Academy—and the only deaf student in the program.

He returned to college after taking off several years to explore various career options. Now back in Santa Barbara, Ramirez is pursuing his dream of becoming a hairdresser.  

Sitting at City College with an interpreter, he began describing his experiences.

“It’s taken until I was 30 and I’ve found the career path for me,” he said. “I love it here, and I know this is what I’m going to pursue.”  

Ramirez expected the cosmetology program to be challenging and he was nervous to communicate with clients at first. However, he overcame his fears by discovering methods of effective communication.

Armando Ramirez, the only male student enrolled in Santa Barbara City College’s Cosmetology program, works to complete the required 1,800 hours of lectures and lab experience to qualify for the California State Board examination to be a licensed cosmetologist

Kailey Wilt
Armando Ramirez, the only male student enrolled in Santa Barbara City College’s Cosmetology program, works to complete the required 1,800 hours of lectures and lab experience to qualify for the California State Board examination to be a licensed cosmetologist.

“I have a full understanding of what they want,” he explained. “That’s one benefit I have because of that visual communication.”

Ramirez explains every step to his clients to assure a satisfying experience.

“I’ve been called marvelous, and I’m like wow that’s interesting,” he revealed. “Probably part of the reason I am so good with my hands is because I have to use them to communicate.”

Ramirez has become close friends with many of his classmates in the program as well.

“They were very excited about wanting to learn sign language and learning about me being deaf and my culture.”

Classmate and friend Mackenzie Watkins spoke about her experience with Ramirez.

“He’s always there for me and says I love you everyday,” she said. “He’s a great stylist, he’s hilarious, and he dances all the time.”

Watkins also added that she was the first person in her class to get her sign name from Ramirez.

The path that led him to City College’s Cosmetology Academy took a lot of time and traveling.

Ramirez grew up and lived in Santa Barbara with his family until his sophomore year in high school, when he transferred to the California School for the Deaf, Riverside. He immediately became very active in school activities and became close with his classmates.

“They pretty much became my family” he shared, “I played volleyball, cheered and played soccer.”

After graduation, Ramirez and his family later moved to Chicago, where he lived for 8 years.  

His brothers pursued the family business by working with their father in construction, but Ramirez knew that wasn’t for him.

He eventually discovered his aspiration to be hairdresser after traveling everywhere from New York City to South America. Experiencing different places of the world is what inspired him to follow his dream.

He drew inspiration from these cultures and eventually incorporated them into his own salon.

His creativity and ability to make others feel good is what drives him in the industry.

“You can do someone’s hair and make them feel beautiful,” he said.

He spent some time in school creating a blueprint and outlining his plans for the future.

“I want to make sure technology is in place once I have my own business,” he said. “Maybe have an iPad to have an interpreter on demand when I have a client so I could find out what they want. That’s something I’ll figure out down the road.”

As Ramirez says, “deaf can do it.”

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4 Comments

4 Responses to “SBCC student excels in program with motto ‘deaf can do it’”

  1. Rosie Ramirez on March 5th, 2016 9:34 pm

    Yes bro u can do it!!! I’m so proud of you !!!!Love you very much♡♡♡♡♡

    [Reply]

  2. Gloria gonzalez on March 5th, 2016 10:07 pm

    My beautiful boy he was special since the day he was born beautiful from inside out love him with all my heart. ..And yes DEAF CAN DO IT:)

    [Reply]

  3. Glory McGuigan on March 6th, 2016 7:36 am

    Armando, you are an inspiration! I love you.

    [Reply]

  4. AJ Ovendale on March 8th, 2016 11:27 pm

    Keep up the good work Angelo! When I met you I thought what a great example for other deaf who are afraid to try! You do not see yourself as impaired and you do not limit yourself! You are setting the bar high for other deaf and you should be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far. Best wishes!

    [Reply]

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