Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Cosmetology program at Tampa's Blake High gets its own makeover


For two years they worked side by side: boys cutting fades and trimming thick mustaches next to girls retouching roots and flat-ironing poofy hair.

The setup in the Howard W. Blake High School's cosmetology program did not promote much crossover. Saul Lebron, a senior in the program, said he's had only three female clients.

"They're like, 'No, you ain't touching my hair!' " said Lebron, 18. "You know how girls are."

But Blake's program got a makeover. On Monday, the school celebrated its grand opening of Salon Blake, which features a newly renovated salon and a full barbershop in a separate room. It's the only high school in the Hillsborough County district with a barbershop, and it's open to the public.

Tevin Smith, an 18-year-old who works in the barbershop, said the change has made his dreams of running his own place one day seem more obtainable.

"It made me feel like I was in a real shop," he said, "like I was a real businessman."

Apoleon Moore, the instructor in the barbering program, said his 80 students learn everything from technique — he chooses which ones are ready to use razors — to operating a business.

Separating the two sides also helps cultivate the vibe of a real barbershop, he said.

"We were just preaching about that in chapter three," he said. "You have to talk to your customers about whatever. You're more than a barber, you're a counselor."

If they begin early enough in their high school career, students in the cosmetology program can earn enough credit hours to apply for state licenses when they graduate. Others can go into technical programs or salon schools.

"You've got this coming out of high school and you've got a skill," said Moore. "This is a recession-proof job."

Haircuts start at $5 in the barbershop and salon, and coloring begins at $15. Proceeds go back into the program, said teacher JoAnn Daves.

A private hair products company, Influance Hair Care, donated $5,000 to the renovations. Several local salon owners donated equipment and tools.

Customers have included students and faculty. Teacher and basketball coach George Lewis dropped by the grand opening Monday. His hair care requires little effort — he's bald, after all — but he said the boys at the barber shop have taken care of his facial hair.

"They do a great job," he said.

Over on the salon side, the girls were just as excited about their new digs. Stylist Geraldine Raymond, 15, was straightening the hair of fellow freshman Alaezea Longmire.

"This is my best friend forever slash cousin," said Alaezea, explaining why she decided to see Geraldine. "Since it's looking so good, I'm coming back."

"The best way to advertise is to please your customer," said Geraldine.

There in the salon, the two girls imagined their future.

"I'm going to be a fashion designer and play piano on the side," said Alaezea. "And her salon is going to be in my store. And we'll have my piano playing over the intercom."

Geraldine nodded her head as she kept straightening.

Reach Jodie Tillman at or (813) 226-3374.

Cosmetology program at Tampa's Blake High gets its own makeover 01/23/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 24, 2012 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Associated Press: U.S. to ban Americans from traveling to North Korea


    WASHINGTON — U.S. officials say the Trump administration will ban American citizens from traveling to North Korea following the death of university student Otto Warmbier who passed away after falling into a coma into a North Korean prison.

    In this Feb. 29, 2016 file photo, American student Otto Warmbier speaks as Warmbier is presented to reporters in Pyongyang, North Korea.  U.S. officials say the Trump administration will ban American citizens from traveling to North Korea following the death of university student Otto Warmbier, who passed away after falling into a coma into a North Korean prison. [AP Photo/Kim Kwang Hyon]
  2. Iraqi general who planned Mosul attack talks about liberation


    Iraqi Gen. Talib Shegati Alkenani, the head of his nation's commandos and an architect of the plan to recapture Mosul, couldn't be happier during our telephone conversation last week.

  3. Earthquake jolts Greek, Turkish resorts, kills 2, hurts 500


    KOS, Greece — A powerful overnight earthquake shook holiday resorts in Greece and Turkey, injuring nearly 500 people and leaving two tourists dead on the Greek island of Kos, where revelers at a bar were crushed in a building collapse.

    A partially destroyed building is seen after an earthquake on the island of Kos, Greece Friday. A powerful earthquake sent a building crashing down on tourists at a bar on the Greek holiday island of Kos and struck panic on the nearby shores of Turkey early Friday, killing two people and injuring some 200 people. [AP Photo/Nikiforos Pittaras]
  4. Plant High grad indicted in brawl on Delta flight to China


    SEATTLE — A Plant High School graduate who fought with flight attendants and other passengers when he tried to open the exit door of a Delta Air Lines flight bound from Seattle to China has been indicted on five federal charges, prosecutors said Thursday.

    Joseph Daniel Hudek IV, 23, was indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday on one count of interfering with the flight crew and four counts of assault on an aircraft. [Facebook]
  5. The real estate pros in charge of Tampa's $3 billion makeover are younger than you think

    Working Life

    TAMPA — Brooke May, a 36-year-old senior construction project manager, knew she wanted to work for Strategic Property Partners the minute she met some team members involved with the group's massive downtown Tampa makeover.

    Matt Davis, Vice President of Development posed for a portrait in the Strategic Property Partners office in Channelside on July 12, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. [MONICA HERNDON   |   Times]