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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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Barber and immigrant Ilirian Grezda enjoys salon atmosphere

Illyria+Grezda%2C+a+barber+at+University+Hair+Stylists%2C+has+established+connections+with+a+wide+variety+of+continuous+customers%2C+their+ages+spanning+from+5+to+70%2C+and+even+greater.+With+each+one%2C+Mr.+Grezda+has+developed+a+connection.+%0A
Leila Rezania
Illyria Grezda, a barber at University Hair Stylists, has established connections with a wide variety of continuous customers, their ages spanning from 5 to 70, and even greater. With each one, Mr. Grezda has developed a connection.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Mr. Grezda’s first name as “Illyria.” Mr. Grezda’s first name is Ilirian.

When Ilirian Grezda came to the United States six years ago, he already knew what he was going to do. Since he was 14 years old, Ilirian knew he loved art, and he knew he always had to be doing something with his hands. 

“I chose this because it was easier for me to become a barber than anything else,” Mr. Grezda said.

Mr. Grezda chose Chicago, and Hyde Park specifically, because he had a family connection at the salon. 

“When you come to another country, a big country, you need to know someone,” Mr. Grezda explained. “I knew someone at this salon, so that’s why I’m here.”

Since then Mr. Grezda has established connections with a wide variety of continuous customers. Their ages span from 5 to 70, and even greater. With each one, Mr.Grezda has developed a connection. 

Senior Jonah Vaang has been going to University Hair Stylists for almost five years. He described how the salon works toward ensuring a calm and welcoming atmosphere. 

“There’s usually something on the TV, usually a sports game, and we’ll just be talking about life and how life is going,” said Jonah. “It’s basically like a conversation you would just have with your friends but while getting your haircut.”

Mr. Grezda explained that the hair salon’s unique location, on the South Side of Chicago, but in the midst of the university campus, provides him with a wide range of customers, something he greatly values and enjoys.

“It’s great to have this energy, from all the students,” Mr. Grezda said. “I really love the atmosphere of a lot of Hyde Parkers of all different ages.”

Jonah noticed the wide range of customers the salon receives as well and highlighted how the communal aspect is still apparent. 

“You can just get the feeling that he enjoys what he’s doing,” he said. “He cuts hair for a lot of interesting people throughout the community: professors, students and local Hyde Parkers.”

Mr. Grezda greets a customer by name, and asks him about his family. The two launch into a long conversation, as Mr. Grezda begins to cut his hair.

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About the Contributors
Zara Siddique
Zara Siddique, Sports & Leisure Editor
Zara Siddique is a member of the Class of 2024 and serves as the sports and leisure editor. She joined the journalism family in the 2021-22 school year as a sophomore. Her favorite part of journalism is getting to meet new people. Her favorite story she has written is “Qatar sparks controversy as World Cup host.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing tennis, reading and listening to music. Awards: 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Second place (with Sahana Unni), photo layout: full page (Page 3) 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, San Francisco convention: Superior, commentary writing
Leila Rezania
Leila Rezania, Photographer
Leila Rezania is a member of photo journalism and a member of the Class of 2025. Her favorite part of photojournalism is capturing stories through photography. Outside of photojournalism, Leila enjoys painting and going on runs.

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