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Victoria salon gives students free back-to-school styles

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
Aug. 21, 2012 at 3:21 a.m.
Updated Aug. 22, 2012 at 3:22 a.m.

Shayla Longsworth, 8, has her hair straightened by hairstylist Miranda Espinoza of Shearly Marvelous. The salon devoted two days to giving free haircuts and styles to students before the new school year begins.

Shayla Longsworth received a surprise little girls dream of on Monday.

The 8-year-old third-grader learned her mother was taking her to a hair salon for an "anything goes" back-to-school haircut.

"I surprised them. I told the girls we were going to get pampered," said Shayla's mother, Nikita Longsworth. "I said they could get whatever they want as long as they don't cut their hair."

Shayla agreed, opting for a flat-iron style that turned her curly whisps into straightened hip-length locks.

"I like it a lot," said Shayla, as she twirled to show off her new 'do.

Shayla joined her sister, Deanna Holst, 5, at Shearly Marvelous salon in Victoria for their complimentary new styles.

Deanna opted for the opposite style of her sister - transforming her naturally straight coif into a head of bouncy curls.

For the past two days, salon owner Shameka Gage and her team of expert hair stylists opened the salon to about 90 students who wanted a new hair makeover before the start of the school year.

"I decided to do this because I love giving back to the community," Gage said. "It's about making a good first impression. It sets the tone for the rest of the year."

It's the second consecutive year Gage has served the community with scissors and curling irons. And she hopes the project continues to grow.

"Last year, we had 22 kids. This year, we're expecting about 90," she said. "The word just spread through the community."

Even though the salon was swamped with boys and girls Monday and Tuesday, Gage said her stylists agreed to accommodate any style request - within reason.

"With the exception of a few things, we'll do almost anything they want," she said, gripping 12-year-old Keanna Williams' hair and brushing out the ends.

Keanna visited the salon with her mother Kendra Williams, and sisters Whitney Jefferson, 15, and 16-year-old Deondrilla Williams.

"It's really nice of them to do this. Getting their hair done is part of the regular back-to-school process," Kendra Williams said. "I'm a pigtail person, and this year I wanted Keanna to have a big girl hairdo.

Standing behind her sister's chair watching Gage finish Keanna's style, Whitney described her new hairstyle plan.

"I'm getting a bob with bangs," Whitney said. "I wanted to dye it blond, but (my mom) wouldn't let me."

As Nikita Longsworth and other patrons exited the store, salon employees offered the children goodie bags filled with candy and hair supplies.

But Shayla remained focussed on modeling her new hairstyle.

"She's containing herself right now, but in the car she's going to flip out," her mother laughed.



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