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Cassopolis graduates offer free haircuts to middle school students

CASSOPOLIS — A pair of clippers buzzed in Cassopolis High School graduate Vashaun Morgan’s hands as he carefully trimmed the back of sixth-grade student Cartiyae Warren’s hair. Working in small sections, Morgan kept his concentration despite the roar of a lunchroom full of middle schoolers behind him.

Though one would not have been able to tell from his demeanor, Morgan was not operating in his usual environment. Instead, he was cutting hair from the Cassopolis Middle School hallway, where he provided his services free of charge.

Monday, Morgan, 26, along with a small team of fellow hairstyling professionals, donated their time to cut and style Cassopolis Middle School students’ hair. This week marked the second time Morgan has provided free hair care services to CMS, having previously visited in March.

“This is my hometown, and I enjoy these kids,” Vashaun said, keeping his focus on the head of hair in front of him. “This is a way to give back to the kids, and honestly, I just enjoy cutting hair. This is something I do because I love it, not because of the money.”

Morgan graduated from Cassopolis High School in 2014 and the West Michigan College of Barbering and Beauty in 2020.

“It just gives them a smile on their face,” Morgan said. “It makes them feel better about themselves. That’s something that benefits everyone. That’s what we are about and what these kids need.”

Down the hallway, fellow Cassopolis graduate Tracey Pearson, 27, offered free braiding services to students. She has been braiding since she was 14 years old.

“I thought this would be a nice thing for the community, and I like to see kids happy,” Pearson said. “This boosts [young students’] confidence for sure and makes them feel more outgoing.”

As the hairstylist teams worked Monday, Cassopolis Middle School Principal Carey May was running between the stations offering students compliments and taking photos. She said she was grateful to all involved for providing the free service to students.

“It’s overwhelming how much the community cares for our kids,” May said. “We know we care, so it’s great to see that the community cares, too.”

May said she had seen students through significant transformations throughout the day — both in terms of their hairstyle and confidence.

“For some of our students, this is invaluable,” she said. “It’s absolutely incredible the difference that it makes and the smiles that they get. It’s a big self-esteem boost.”

As Morgan put the finishing touches on Warren’s haircut Monday, another student eagerly awaited his turn in the barber seat.

“Like I said, this is all about the kids,” Morgan said. “We want them to be excited and feel good about themselves.”

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