TOPEKA, Kan. – A local businesswoman plans to give one Kansas high school student free barber college tuition.
Owner and Kenya native Lucy Opit found that in 2015 the Midwest Barber College was planning to shut down.
“I was like no I can’t let that happen,” Opit said. “Between here and Wichita, there’s no other school but in Kansas City.”
Instead, she decided to buy the school to benefit high school students.
“The sacrifice that I made and the chance that I took and I see how their life has been changed, I feel happy and granted that I open this shop,” Opit explained.
“You can take this industry anywhere or you can become an instructor, your licenses anywhere, you can own your own shop,” Danielle Skinner, an instructor with Midwest Barber College said. “It’s only a year long program so they can get a career in a year if they come everyday.”
Last year, Lucy established “A Cut Above Scholarship,” which gives one Kansas high school student free tuition of more than 16 thousand dollars.
“Then we start finding out, we have students who come in and they don’t qualify for financial aid or the GI Bill, so we were like maybe we can help at least one student a year,” Lucy explained.
The 2019 “A Cut Above Scholarship” winner, Jaqui Madrano says she appreciates the support.
“I’m very excited because Ms. Lucy gave me an opportunity to study something I enjoy and knowing that I’m actually the first Hispanic girl to come here is very exciting,” Madrano said.
“I was really encouraged to see that she was the top person who qualified,” Opit added.
For one student, the Midwest Barber College is more than just a school, “My last time getting my hair cut here, they said I’ll see you in seven years,” Isaias Rivera, a student at Midwest Barber College said.
“I learned a lot within weeks of starting, I read a lot, reading a lot. Never knew that barbers were surgeons, the red, white, and blue actually means something,” Rivera said.
Midwest Barber College is still accepting applications for the ‘Cut Above Midwest Barber College scholarship’. The deadline to apply is June 30.