AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF) – At Schofield Middle School, making sure students have the same opportunities as others is important. That includes literacy.

“If you teach a child to read, it broadens their horizons and it heightens their experience, as with other content. You can’t do any other content without reading,” said Assistant Principal, Jasmine Scott.

That’s why teacher Arrington Weston decided to hold a “Barbershop and Books” event where a barber came to the school to cut students’ hair at a reduced price and students got the chance to pick out free books.

“My barber, Rico Ryan, he and I both had a vision. He was very passionate about reduced priced hair cuts and I am very passionate about literacy. So, we both came together and I told him we were going to be putting on literacy week and we got together, prayed about an idea we had, and then presented an idea to our administration and they gave us the green light to go forward with ‘Barbershop and Books’ event,” said Arrington.

The event was a success. By the end of the day, they ended up giving out around 400, brand new books to students.

“Literacy is so important to me. If we can teach our kids how to read, so many of the issues that we see in our community that we fight about, that we worry about, honestly, that we cry about, we will begin to see a decrease. Things like crime, poverty, incarceration…if we can just teach our kids how to read, we can keep them in the classrooms and if we can keep them in the classroom, we can keep them in school,” said Weston.

Students were thrilled to get their hair cut.

“To see the transformation and the glow on a young man’s face when he has a fresh line-up, I love it,” said Scott.

The haircuts were free for students, as the teachers at Schofield chipped in.

The whole event was chance to reduce the financial burden for some families.

“Often times, when we bring the book fair in, students may not be able to participate because they don’t have the access to funds. So, seeing them go through and select books that some of them were familiar with, some of them were not as familiar with, it’s just really exciting and they’re eager. One student had about 6 or 7 books and he was like ‘can I get more’,” said Scott.

Considering the event’s success, this probably won’t be the last time you see “Barbershop and Books.”

“What I would like to see is for Mr. Weston to be able to take what he’s doing here at Schofield and get it to students through ought Aiken County Public School District. Especially at elementary level where early intervention with literacy is critical,” said Scott.

“It was a success and we plan on doing it again. As long as I’m here, we will continue to do as much as possible for literacy,” said Weston.