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Mentor, Ohio-based nail tech Gina Burich combines her love for nails with her love for the French language by working as a high school French teacher. She discovered both passions early on, and even gave her salon a French name: Mon Atelier, which translates to “my workshop.” Her passion for nails began in high school. “I was intrigued by getting my nails done for school dances,” she explains. “I bought a kit and started practicing on my mom and sister and school friends.” Becoming a nail tech helped her put herself through college, where a semester in Paris helped her discover her love of the French language. 

Of her 20 years as a French teacher, Burich says, “I feel honored to nurture and instruct our younger generation. High school is a challenging time in one’s life. The students become family and I worry about them as much as my own children.” It can be difficult to work with young people and help them deal with the pressures they face. “Students need role models who will be firm, fair, and consistent,” explains Burich. “As educators, we are faced with digital competition and constant social media pressures and helping them balance it all is very challenging.” Burich finds her job rewarding, though. She especially loves seeing the students’ language skills come to life when she takes them on trips to Paris, Montreal, and Quebec. 

Burich balances her two careers, doing nails three days a week during the school year and up to five days a week during the summer. She credits her loyal clientele and her organizational skills for making it possible to balance her two jobs — and “I don’t require much sleep!” she says. “The nail industry has been kind to me and in return, balancing the two careers has prepared me to multi-task and problem-solve efficiently.”

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