Denmark Technical College
"Even though Denmark Tech is small, we’ve got the most heart. We have something a big campus can’t give you: family."
My name is Jairus Hays, and I’m an SGA representative. I’m from Columbia, SC, and I came to Denmark Technical College because I wanted to do barbering. There aren’t that many barbering schools around here unless you look in New York or California, but Denmark Tech was an option, so now I’m here.
How did you get interested in barbering?
I wanted to be a barber because I used to always get my hair cut and cleaned up by my uncle. He owned a barbershop, and he’s actually a Denmark Tech alumni. He pointed me towards the program here.
I’m a caring guy, and I like to give. People used to look up to barbers, and I thought that was cool. I feel like when I give someone a haircut, they can feel like a whole new person. I can give them a boost.
What do you learn in your barbering classes?
You’ve got to learn about the hair before you even touch it. Then, we braid, we do facials, we do eyebrow arches for the ladies. We do coloring and cutting, of course. We do all types of cool stuff.
How has Denmark Tech made you feel at home?
Well, the first time I called to ask about the barbering program, Dr. Todd, the president, actually picked up and talked to me. I didn’t know who he was until I met him in person. But he remembered my voice, and even though he’d never met me, he introduced himself to me like, “Hey, remember me on the phone? It’s nice to meet you. Glad to have you here.” He made me feel welcome.
Then there’s Ms. Holman-Brooks. She’s an advisor, but she’s like a mom away from home. She made me feel comfortable speaking to her. If I had problems or needed anything, she had my back. I love that lady.
Were there any obstacles you overcame to get here?
When I graduated from high school, I was in this phase of being lost. I didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t know my next move. I feel like if you don’t know what you want to do, you’re not going to make it in life.
I was a little knucklehead during that phase. My plan was originally to go to the Air Force, but I was on a waiting list and I never heard back. My whole plan was wrapped up around the Air Force, so when that didn’t happen, I was a shell. I didn’t know what I was going to do.
I was going through a lot at the time, too. A death in the family from COVID, and that was hitting me hard. My uncle came to see me one day, and he told me he didn’t want me lost, sitting on my bed all day. He wanted me to get up and do something. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. He was like, “I’m going to make a call. You’re going to go to school.” At the time, I was done with school. I didn’t like my high school, and I made a vow I would never go to school again.
But when I came here, I don’t know — it was like a bright light. My maturity kicked in so hard. I started waking up on time, I started doing my work. As soon as I got here, I got my act right.
My uncle gave me a wake-up call, and I’m so appreciative and grateful for him.
What’s the most exciting part about achieving your goals?
It’s really amazing because who doesn’t want to be happy? Who doesn’t want to be on the way to success? Who doesn’t want that feeling of your mom being proud of you? That’s the best feeling in the world. I said I would never go to school again, but look where I’m at. I got to prove myself wrong.
Is there anything else people should know about your technical college?
The one thing I can say about Denmark is even though we’re small, we’ve got the most heart. It doesn’t get better than this. We have something a big campus can’t give you: family. This is family.