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It's A Colorful Life...

When you enter Mrs. Olivia Gonzales’ Cosmetology Class at the LaGrone Advanced Technology Center, you immediately notice Tim Canter because he stands out. He’s one of two boys studying to take his barber certification exam and working towards his state-required licensure.


“When we started getting into hair dyes, I could tell Tim was worried and he kept asking me about the content,” said Mrs. Gonzales. “And he then admitted to me that he’s color blind, which can be problematic in this profession.”


According to the National Eye Institute, Tim is one of eight percent of men who have red-green color blindness.


“He doesn’t see what we see, he sees the world in shades of gray, green and dark red,” said Mrs. Gonzales. “As a teacher, my immediate thought was ‘How can we fix this?’ so I started searching online.”


While perusing social media, Mrs. Gonzales discovered EnChroma® glasses, a specialized pair of glasses that visibly correct the color spectrum when worn by those with color blindness.


Secretly, she started speaking with the students, faculty members and regular customers of the salon asking if they wished to donate and help purchase a pair of EnChroma® glasses as a surprise for Tim’s 18th birthday this fall.


“Our students in their focused groups of study, very much function like a family, an extension of the classroom,” said Marcus Bourland, principal of the LaGrone ATC. “I encourage our teachers to love and encourage our students beyond just teaching subject matter, and this project is a prime example of that coming to life.”


On a September evening, Tim’s classmates and teachers surprised him with a room filled with neon streamers, bright balloons and colorful cake. And, of course his favorite color – orange.


“It’s my favorite color because when I was little, I liked tigers,” Tim explained. “Someone told me tigers were orange so when asked, that’s what I would say. But, thanks to this amazing gift, that might change.”