Milton Hershey School Student Earns Hair Braiding License Over the Summer
Milton Hershey School junior, Jael Ingram, spent her summer challenging herself to better her future. Instead of enjoying fun and relaxing activities, Jael participated in a six-week cosmetology program to earn her natural hair braiding license through a local academy.
Each day this summer, Jael traveled to De Rielle Cosmetology Academy in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, where she worked towards completing 400 hours in the Academy’s Natural Hair Braiding course.
This is the first year that an MHS student has taken part in the program. However, Paige Lee-Early, MHS Lead Hairstylist at Spartan Styles—the school’s on-campus salon—hopes Jael’s participation is a catalyst for more student involvement in the future.
“Due to my love of enhancing others’ beauty through their hair, I participated in this braiding program to improve my skills,” shared Jael. “I have always been intrigued by the beauty of different hair textures and cultures. Having the opportunity to learn more while getting my license was a memorable experience. You gain a greater understanding of the world when you engage in experiences like these.”
Once Jael earns her natural hair braiding license, she will be able to work at Spartan Styles during the school year, sharing her passion with her peers. This opportunity gives Jael more time to learn and grow in the hair care industry before graduating from high school.
Jael enrolled at MHS in January from York, PA, ready to take on the challenges and opportunities ahead of her. After being introduced to the natural hair braiding program, her character and dedication to her future shined. Understanding the commitment and dedication necessary to earn her license, she made the decision to stay at MHS over the summer and put in the time and effort to make this happen.
Along the way, she was supported and encouraged by Lee-Early and the staff at Spartan Styles. Lee-Early shared, “I enjoy seeing students interested in the creative mindset. One of my favorite parts of my job is being able to share my passions with the students I work with and helping them to discover their own interests.”
Jael saw her participation in this program not just as a way to learn a new skill, but a space for her to grow as a person, meet new people, and be challenged.
“My work post-graduation will be focused on braiding hair and pursuing law,” said Jael “My goal is to get my teaching license during the summer before I start college so that I can one day own and operate a school of my own.”
Spartan Styles serves about 150 students per week throughout the school year through haircuts, styling, and lessons on proper hair care. The on-campus salon is one of the many ways that MHS works to educate the whole child and provide the skills and resources every child needs to be successful—all costs covered.