The gym at Henderson Middle School turned into a giant barbershop with a line of barbers and hairstylists stretching across the basketball floor to give 30 students a new look for the holidays.
The students were part of a mentoring group at the school selected to participate in Henderson’s Partner in Education Versatile Fades Barber Shop cut-a-thon on Tuesday. Owner Ian Owens brought his team of barbers to cut the boys hair and joined with a hair salon for the girls. He even brought in a DJ, turning the event into a celebration.
“We wanted to give back,” Owens said.
He had visited the school before and a student looked at him and said ‘taper fade,’ a style he often cuts and wears himself. That piqued his interest further in the school. “I wanted to be able to help – one hair cut at a time,” he said. “A haircut can make a difference. It’ a new look and it changes how they carry themselves.”
He was proud of the work he and his team did for the students, and could see the impact it made on the students.
“The kids are showing a lot of appreciation,” he said.
Anthony Ayala, sat patiently as one of Owens’ barbers cut off about 11 inches of hair, shaved the sides and styled the top. Instead of long hair, the seventh grader had been growing since fifth grade, he now rocked a taper fade. He couldn’t stop smiling as showed off his new do.
“My mom kept on telling me to cut my hair so I just decided to cut it,” Anthony said.
The event kicked off with a pep rally where Owens, 24, talked to students about how he was 21 years old when he started his business.
“You can do it too,” he told them. “Anything you want to do, you can do.”
Principal Elizabeth Maldonado liked Owens’ message to students about the endless possibilities that await them.
“If that’s the only thing the kids get out of today, that’s a lot,” Maldonado said.
Through the school’s partnership, Versatile also donated turkeys to families during the Thanksgiving holidays.
“One of EPISD’s goals is to maintain positive and productive partnerships with parents and our community to facilitate the success of all students,” Maldonado said. “We are fortunate at Henderson that there are many business and community members who are former Hornets and who believe in our students and want to be mentors and give back to our community.”