The room, tucked down a long hallway at Duncanville High School, smells like permanent solution and burning hair. There is a sea of teenage girls in black scrubs working on models’ hair. Standing in the middle of them is one young man: Trazon Connley.
Tray, as he likes to be called, is a third-year Cosmetology student. He has learned how to cut, curl and just recently how to highlight hair. When he graduates next year, he will be a fully-licensed Cosmetologist and will be able to open his own business if he chooses.
Signing up for the ‘beauty classes’ is something Tray’s father encouraged him to do as a freshman in high school.
“I did it so he could be an entrepreneur,” said Tray’s father, Toby Connley. “He wants to be self-employed and on his own. He doesn’t always want to work for somebody else.”
“He told me this is a good business,” said Tray, who is listening to his father’s advice.
The 17-year old found himself in a unique position this year outside his Cosmetology classes. Tray, who has played football since he was young, spent most of this season as the back-up quarterback on the Panthers football team. But when the starter broke his leg with two games left in division play, Tray stepped up and led the team to the fourth round of the playoffs.
“He breaks all the stereotypes of what is deemed a Cosmetology student,” teacher Christy Smith said.
Smith’s hope is that seeing a confident, focused young man like Tray complete his courses will encourage others to consider studying Cosmetology.
Tray admits his football teammates gave him a hard time at first for taking the classes, but when they learned he could cut their hair, they started lining up for his services.
“They wanted me to fade ‘em up,” Tray said. “Then they got off my back.”
Tray still has a year left in high school to play football and to train as a Cosmetologist. He plans to go to college. If he isn’t offered an athletic scholarship, his Cosmetology license will be there to help him pay his way to a degree.