NHS cosmetology students a cut above in Texas

NHS cosmetology students a cut above in Texas
Posted on 05/03/2021
NHS cosmetology students a cut above in Texas

Nacogdoches High School’s cosmetology program is a cut above in Texas.

Three NHS cosmetology students won gold medals last month and will advance to a national level competition that will be held virtually during June.

Karina Hernandez won a state gold medal in barbering at the Skills USA Texas State competition and will participate at the national level. Also qualifying for nationals were Emily Leuschner, who won a gold medal in nail care, and Ana Roa, a junior who won in esthetics.

The national qualifications are likely the first for Nacogdoches High School, where Jan Holland is in her ninth year as cosmetology instructor.

“This is my ninth year here at NHS,” Holland said, “and I don’t believe we’ve had a national qualifier in probably the last 20 years.”

Hernandez, Roa and Leuschner were joined at the state competition by others from NHS, including Emily Lathan, who won bronze in barbering, less than a point behind the second place finisher. Aracely Rodriguez earned a silver medal in cosmetology.

“I’m extremely proud of these students,” Holland said. “It’s amazing to place in the top four at state.

“State always has steep competition and there is a lot that goes into it before the student even gets there. This is the first time that I have had a student go to Nationals, much less three students.”

Roa is a junior who posts videos on YouTube about applying make up, Holland said. “Ana is very quiet but loves to do makeup.”

Leuschner scored the highest grade on her test, Holland said. The NHS senior is already working at a Nacogdoches spa.

The national contest is normally held in Louisville, Ky., but will take place virtually because of the pandemic.

“Although I am so happy for our state winners, I am also sad that they will not be able to experience that,” Holland said. “I’ve had the pleasure of chairing contests and judging customer service and job interviews there and it is an experience of a lifetime for the students.”

The state contest also took place virtually, with judges watching over the competition through Zoom. “At first the students and I thought it might be easier than in person but we were very wrong,” Holland said.

Barbering was the first state competition. Students have to submit a resumé, a drawing of a haircut and color, perform a long men’s haircut and then a short hair fade for a men’s cut. In the state district competition, held earlier this year, students also had to take a test with more than 70 questions over haircuts, sanitation and professional development.

Hernandez, the winner from NHS, posted one of the highest scores on the exam, which is then factored into the skills competition, Holland said.

Cosmetology has a number of sections, along with a test of 70 questions. Students must provide descriptions of colors, procedures, products, how to use those products and then what to tell the client regarding home care.

In cosmetology, students must also be able to perform an updo, a long hair cut, 90-degree haircut and a short men’s cut, all on a mannequin.

In esthetics, a contest Holland has chaired a number of times in Texas, students complete the 70-question test. They then do facial massages, basic facial, beauty/daytime makeup that has to be trendy and then fantasy makeup.

“The judges watch for the steps of the facial, creativity for makeup and fantasy and most of all sanitation,” Holland said.

In nail care, students submit a resumé, complete the 70 questions then provide descriptions of different types of nail arts.

COSMETOLOGY STUDENTS that complete the program at NHS can be ready to move directly into the workforce upon graduation, Holland said.

On April 29, 12 students went to Houston for the final state practical exam; all 12 passed. Students that pass that test can go to work in any salon upon graduation from high school.

Holland said a number of her cosmetology students that complete the courses and pass the exam also go on to college to obtain business degrees in preparation for operating their own salons.

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