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Starting the year in style





Students will go back to school with style because Hays Academy of Hair Design volunteered its services Tuesday night in an attempt to join together the higher-education facilities of Hays.

Students at Fort Hays State University and North Central Kansas Technical College were given free haircuts, manicures, makeup application or eyebrow waxes. In conjunction with Celebration Community Church, the Ignite Band performed and Jeff Burnett, director of the college-aged ministry, spoke.

This is the first year for the Back-to-School Bash for college students.

"Our goal is to engage the three higher education learning facilities and hope relationships are formed," said Len Melvin, marketing director of the academy. "This will allow our students the opportunity to visit with other students. It's not too often all three (schools) are in the same place for any common reason."

More than 25 HAHD students volunteered for the event.

"Our students like to give back," Melvin said. "They learn this is an industry where you can give back with your skills, and it costs nothing to do so. So our students are always very open and welcome to the opportunity to be involved in community events."

Taylor Bennett graduates from the academy today but still wanted to participate.

"I thought it would be a good way to get involved, get to know everybody," she said. "For all the new girls, it's a good way to get their clientele built up. As for the FHSU students, it's important for them to know this is a good place to go for a good price."

Bennett was giving Wendy Zimmerman a shellac manicure.

"This is a good way to make friends, to see where people are from and why they came here," said Zimmerman, an FHSU freshman from Hays. "It's nice to see people you know and relax, especially with the stress of college and classes beginning."

Melvin attends Celebration and knew the church could pull a large crowd from the college ministry.

"That's a great group to be involved with," he said. "A lot of times students come here and don't have the means to plug into a church. This is a great way for them to get plugged in with the college-aged students."

Encounter, the college-aged ministry, averages 250 attendees each Wednesday night.

"They asked me to come because they wanted to make sure the students at this institution have the chance to plug in with a local church," Burnett said. "It's important to get plugged in, to have a place to go with problems or issues. They are all students. They're the same age, have the same problems, the same hopes and dreams, and it's a good way for them to get connected."

Amy Tiemeyer, an instructor at the academy, said she notices connections forming as her students advance in the program.

"It's nice to have them be interconnected," she said. "At first, the students tend to stick with who they do know. Then they start meeting all kinds of new people and clients, so they can expand their horizons. I think they grow a lot in the year they are here."

More than 100 students lined up to receive the free services, including Kansas State University student Anna Hickert.

"I start school next week, so I was planning on getting my hair cut before anyway," she said. "I thought it was really neat what they were doing for the community. It's very generous, so I thought I would come support them if they're willing to do this for the students."