Students work for diplomas with barber program

A barber school in Tampa is helping troubled teens get their lives back in order.

Carlos Feliciano never used to look forward to going to school.

“I got kicked out,” the 17-year-old said, thinking back to his days at Tampa’s Chamberlain High School. “Got into the streets doing the wrong things. Not enough credits.”

But, he didn’t give up on himself.

“I wanted to get my high school diploma fast and easy and pick up a few traits in the process,” he said. “I probably wouldn’t even be in school. ... I kind of felt like school wasn’t for me. It saved me.”

Now he’s part of a school that has him back on track. D.W. Waters Career Center iin Tampa Heights and has only around 100 students. All are enrolled because they somehow got off track for high school graduation.

“Like searching for treasure I get to see their talents,” said barber instructor Ken Reaves.

The students are given basic school courses but are supplemented with trade classes in either plumbing, cosmetology, barbering and more.

“My students are very excited to be here,” said principal Holly Frazier. “They (cut hair) every day.”

The students come early before classes and even stay late to participate in the haircuts. The barbershop is open to the public as well. Students practice on themselves and each other. The training offers them opportunities to learn a skill that could lead to possible careers upon receiving their diplomas.

“My goal is to make sure they have a drive and a determination within them to be outstanding citizens and look forward to success,” said Reaves.  


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