‘Miss, why is it only the girls who get to take your class?’ Barbershop class sparks buzz at Hamilton school

·2 min read

A new class has sparked a buzz at a downtown Hamilton high school — literally.

The concept for a barbershop course was first conceived when Serafina Mundo, a teacher at Cathedral High School, was approached by a couple male students.

For years, Mundo taught a hairstyling class where girls would learn to style, curl and straighten hair. The boys wanted in.

“I remember they came up to me and said, ‘Miss, why is it only the girls who get to take your class?’” she said.

“They wanted to see if I’d be interested in doing a barbershop class, too.”

It didn’t take long for Mundo to find interest among students. Within a couple days, she had 22 students who were willing to take the class the following school year.

Now, Cathedral High School is operating a class aimed at teaching boys how to cut and style hair. Every semester, Mundo teaches the elements of haircutting: how to use scissors, blow dryers, curling irons, flatirons, clippers and much more. The boys learn how to do buzz cuts, fades, outlines and beard trims.

“It’s been so much fun,” she said.

The class practises on mannequin heads sporting long hair and beards. Over the course of the semester, they’re instructed to find a hairstyle they want to reproduce and work toward perfecting it, as well as a beard trim, on their mannequin.

As a brand-new course, Mundo also focuses on professional skills for her students: client consultations, tools of the trade, and how to pursue a career in barbering.

And the kids are pretty good at it, she adds. Some have a natural talent for the trade.

Surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic actually helped the class by allowing for smaller groups that got more one-on-one time with the teacher.

“Normally we never get to fully complete our activities by the end of the semester. But now the kids have much more time to work on their cuts and seek help from me,” she said.

“It’s very cool, seeing the boys taking the skills and putting them to work.”

The class is currently offered for Grade 11 students, but due to the high interest of the program it may expand to include Grade 12 students as well.

“Now I have kids coming up to me saying, ‘Miss, I didn’t know this class was happening!’ So many more students want in.”

Jacob Lorinc, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator