NHS Barbers

Nixon High School seniors, Branden Hinojosa and Luis Sanchez, made history by becoming the first students at the Business, Industry, and Public Service (BIPS) Early College Academy at Nixon High School to earn their barber operator’s license. Hinojosa and Sanchez completed the barbering Career and Technical Education (CTE) Program and passed a written and practical (skills) state exam to obtain their barber license. 

Branden and Luis were overwhelmed when they learned they earned their barber’s license.   

“I was excited when I found out. The first thing I did was call my parents and just to hear them say that they're proud of me was a really good experience. It's something I will never forget,” said Hinojosa. “I’m excited and really pleased of what I have become.  I’m so proud that I finally achieved what I wanted.”

“I was excited when I got it. I worked hard for it,” said Sanchez. “It took two years and 1,000 hours is a lot. But now that I have it, I feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulder. It’s something that I accomplished in life that I’m happy about. This is what I want to be, and I like it.” 

Hinojosa and Sanchez, who had no experience in barbering, are among the first group of 20 students benefiting from the barbering program at Nixon High School.

To complete the LISD Barbering Program, students must participate in a two-year high school CTE program where they must complete 1,000 hours. Upon completing the hours, students must pass a written exam and a practical (skills) exam. The written exam has 93 questions and is graded with a percentage of 85% being the max.  The practical exam assesses the following: set up and disinfection, manicure service, facial shave, blood exposure, haircut, thermal curling, chemical set up and prep, perm, and a single process retouch at the end of the examination clean up and disinfection.

“They must pass a customer service class and Barbering 1 and 2 before they can complete enough hours to earn their state barbering license,” said Rogelio Garcia, LISD Executive Director of CCMR, Advanced Academics and Schools of Innovation. “The students practice on mannequins before putting it on practice on a live person. Our students use live models after they reach their 200 hours of theory.” 

Local barber and barber instructor at Nixon High, Ivette Diaz, believes there are many advantages to enrolling in the barbering program. “One of the benefits of the program is getting your hours and license for free because this is about a $12,000 course,” said Diaz. “It's something that they can take with them once they graduate using it as a stepping stone to continue their college education.” 

Not only is LISD investing in our student’s future by providing the essential tools necessary to succeed, but the students enrolled in the barbering program are extremely committed and invested in their future as well. 

“I’m thankful that our school provides most of the supplies that are important like clippers,” said Sanchez. “Shears and all that you have to buy yourself, so I’m also investing in my future as well.” 

According to Diaz, most of the students in the program had no past knowledge in barbering. From this experience, she hopes her students complete the program and graduate knowing that they did something for themselves that is important to their future. 

“Luis and Brandon had no past knowledge in barbering. They have learned a lot and have come a long way since joining the barbering program,” said Diaz. “Doing these 1,000 hours has been a challenge but they pulled through and now they're fully licensed. I'm super proud of them.”

“I would come to school every day, but I really didn’t care, until one day a friend told me to join the barbering program, so I just joined to join,” said Sanchez. “I’m glad I joined because Ms. Diaz has taught me how to do all this new stuff and barbering has given me a purpose. I come in early. It’s made me be punctual and be a better man. It’s really made me know how to work with somebody or my teammates in the barbering program.”  

“Barbering has motivated me to do better in my classes and pass my classes. Because if I'm not passing my classes, I can’t be in the barber program,” said Hinojosa.  

“What got me interested in barbering is my instructor and teacher Ms. Diaz.  One day I was cutting my hair with her, and she told me about the program,” added Hinojosa. “I was just an 11th grader that didn't even know anything about grabbing the clipper or knowing anything about barbering. “It's crazy how she got me into it and now I'm doing fades and all this stuff that I never thought I would be doing.”

Hinojosa highly encourage his peers who might be interested in barbering to come into the program “You should go for it. We have a perfect instructor, Ms. Diaz who will teach you everything and she'll be patient with you,” said Hinojosa. “It's like a family over here. So, you will be able to meet a bunch of new people and you will have a good time.”

“While in the program the students learn about the various tools, clippers and shears needed to provide professional cuts,” said Garcia. “Afterward, they can participate in career prep programs and work professionally as a fully licensed barber.”

Now that Hinojosa and Sanchez have earned their license they are participating in a work-based learning opportunity Internship where they are working as a fully licensed barber at Theo's Barbershop.

“I’m hoping to learn as much as I can at Theo’s. You never stopped learning; every day you learn something new,” said Sanchez. “Hopefully I can build on my clientele there and not just that but get the advice and learn from Hilda, the owner of Theos, and from everybody that's around me.”

“Working at Theos has been a good experience. It’s given me real barbershop scenarios other than being in class,” said Hinojosa. “It's very different from a school to a barber shop, so I'm really experiencing and going step by step and experiencing the real world in a real barbershop.”

“It’s a whole different world. At school you are learning, while here at the shop it’s the real world, with real clients. You are getting paid for a service, so you are going to put in the effort to satisfy the client,” said Theo’s Barber, Junior Pedraza. “Branden and Luis are good kids. They want to learn and have a good attitude. We need to mold them a little and make them better than they already are.” 

Branden and Luis both have big dreams for their future as they aspire of owning their own barber shop one day. 

“My goal is to work in a shop and hopefully one day open up my own barbershop,” said Hinojosa.  

“For now, my short-term goal is to establish my clientele,” said Sanchez. “My long term is to one day open my own shop and expand not just here in Laredo, but I also want to open up my own franchise in different cities.”

While both students were attaining their license, they had a tremendous amount of support, and they expressed their appreciation to their parents and barber instructor.

“I want to thank my parents for always supporting me and my instructor and teacher Ms. Diaz for always being there for me,” said Hinojosa.  She is always patient with me and always helps me out when I need it.”

“I want to acknowledge my parents for always supporting and Ms. Diaz for also supporting me and being patient with me,” said Sanchez. “I want to thank my teammates here with me in the barbering class not just the seniors but also the juniors.”

 In addition to the barbering program students are exposed to life skills, SkillsUSA, competitions, as well as community involvement with LISD and UISD back to school events, Bella Strong, LBCS, and Spa Days. 

Students interested in the LISD Barbering Program should contact their school counselors and submit a completed application.

For more information, please contact LISD College, Career and Military Readiness Coordinators, Cindy Dominquez at 956-273-1864, Mayra Garcia at 956-273-1863 or Yvonne Degollado at 956-273-1744.