The perfect style. The perfect wave. The perfect cut. The Sweetwater Union High School District has taken a fresh approach to celebrating perfection. Recently, 182 district students received the “Pearl Quiñones Perfect Attendance Award.” Along with recognition for their personal achievement, the students received a certificate good for a hair cut and style session courtesy of The Salon, valued at $250.
The innovative acknowledgement of students’ commitment to school attendance was the brainchild of Sweetwater Board Vice President Pearl Quiñones and The Salon owner Abe Barron. Employed by the San Ysidro School District, Quiñones works as a dropout prevention specialist. As an educator and board member, she is dedicated to improving education and strongly advocates for student achievement.
“When kids are motivated to stay in school, they have a great opportunity to be successful,” Quiñones said. “Through this award, we hope to provide extra incentive for students to attend class every day and take full advantage of the educational resources Sweetwater makes available to them.”
Barron is an alumnus of the district’s Southwest High, whose hard work and dedication have taken him to the top of the salon industry. Before opening The Salon in San Diego, he fine-tuned his skills under the guidance of the artistic director for Paul Mitchell and has been working as a hairdresser for fifteen years.
“I have wanted to give back to the community for years and thought this would be an excellent way to award students’ achievement and commitment to their education,” Barron said. “Having grown up in the South Bay, I wanted to extend the luxury of a professional salon experience to kids who may not normally have this opportunity.”
Quiñones and Barron visited several district schools to personally meet the recipients of the award and present the students with their certificates. At Hilltop High’s awards assembly, the pair stressed the importance of staying in school and attending class every day. As the school only had one winner, Barron graciously extended the professional salon service offer to the student’s mother, who was in attendance, which she cheerfully accepted.
According to Barron, the goal is to continue the perfect attendance recognition program for years to come, with plans already underway to involve more students and teachers in the program next year.