By Denise Dick
A smile spread across Kaelyn Spell’s face as she gazed into the mirror at her new hairstyle.
“She got four cornrows going to the back,” said stylist Tasha Hicks of All in One Beauty.
The rows meet at the back of Kaelyn’s head
Hicks is one of several stylists and barbers who worked from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday to make sure students at Discovery at Kirkmere look their best for school picture day today. It’s the second year at Kirkmere for Picture Perfect Hair Day. The event started at the former Discovery at Volney school three years ago.
Stylists and barbers contribute their time and talents to give back to the community.
Kelan Bilal of Excalibur Barber and Grooming Lounge in Southern Park Mall has participated every year since it started. This year, he recruited several other barbers to help, too.
He knows how important it is to have good hair on school picture day.
“I always had terrible pictures when I was in school,” Bilal said.
He created a sponge curl on the crown of Kevin Bell’s head and cut in a fade on the sides.
Kevin, 13, and an eighth-grader, said he liked the new cut but was more interested in finishing “The Lightning Thief,” a novel by Rick Riordan.
Bilal said the sponge curl and fade will be easy to maintain.
“Kids want something that’s easy,” he said. “They don’t want to take a lot of time.”
Principal Misha Scott said some students have never had a professional haircut or style, and Picture Perfect Hair Day provides that opportunity.
It bolsters confidence and self-esteem, Scott said.
“You see some of them walking out, and they’re so happy,” she said.
It also exposes students to a barbershop or beauty salon atmosphere, the principal noted.
Kiwi Marshall, from Exquisite Cuts, Glenwood Avenue, believes it’s important to help kids and to give back to the community.
“Kids are very important in this community,” she said. “It’s a way to make sure they look nice in the pictures.”
She was cutting a soft fade for third-grader Mingan Clark’s new cut.
“I just wanted it,” Mingan, 9, said of his choice of styles.
Tyshaan Fitzpatrick of New Castle, Pa., has an Ohio barber’s license and joined the effort.
“I wanted to do anything I can to help,” he said as he worked on Kaden Zecher’s fade.
Kaden, 8, and a third-grader, is looking forward to picture day.
This year, the Raymond John Wean Foundation awarded the school a grant to treat the barbers and stylists to lunch, Scott said.
Thursday morning, 63 students had signed up for the beauty/grooming treatment, but once some of those students started returning to their classes with their new looks, other children wanted to sign up, too.
“We’ve gotten flooded with more students,” Scott said. “I’ve probably made 30 more calls.”
Permission from a parent is required.
Parents and barbers and stylists who wanted to participate but had scheduling conflicts donated supplies: gels, combs, brushes.
The girls chose from among four selected styles. One with several braids that meet in a bun in the back was the most popular.
Amber Smith and Kellie Alexander, both of Upscale Hair and Nails, Gypsy Lane, crafted that style into the hair of Antonishjah Henderson and Zoe Santana, respectively.
“I thought it was pretty,” said Antonishjah, 13, an eighth-grader.
Smith weaved extensions into Antonishjah’s hair as part of the style.
Zoe, 11, a fifth-grader, picked the style to go with her picture day outfit, a blue and white blouse that says “Beautiful” across the front, black jeans and her Nikes.
Other barbers and stylists participating were Holly Rees of Free’s Five Star in Warren, Ciara Jackson of Sincerely Touched, Doniecia (Bo) Johnson of Beauty and Beyond and Jamie Decembly of Excalibur.