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The Trail to Kansas City

Cosmetologist to compete in National SkillsUSA

Cosmetologist to compete in National SkillsUSA

June 17, 2005|by TONY BUDNY

anthonyb@herald-mail.com

Kristin Trail could sunbathe at the beach. She could spend her days hanging out with friends. She could work longer hours at her summer job at Holiday Hair at Valley Park Commons on Wesel Boulevard.

Instead, she is preparing to represent Maryland cosmetology students June 20-25 at the National SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City, Mo.

Trail, 17, left Hancock Middle-Senior High School two years ago to pursue her vocational career at Washington County Technical High School. The drive took her an hour away from her home in Flintstone, Md., but the journey from that decision took her to a place few have seen.

Trail successfully competed in three levels of skills events - local, regional and state - to advance to the national competition. She finished in the top two in each round and won the state gold medal.

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She will face 63 other competitors representing all 50 states and U.S. territories.

During competition, Trail must create four distinct hairstyles on mannequins. Three of those styles will be selected by the judges and she chooses the fourth, she said.

Communication skills and demonstrating customer service skills will be tested. She also will take two written tests as part of the competition.

Trail practices a variety of skills, including haircutting, sanitation and infection control, and even public speaking.

"I practice during any free time I have, even if it's at work," she said.

Her teachers, Marie Bikle and Tammy Wilson, know time is valuable and the pressure is high.

"She represents the great values of her profession and of life for all Maryland cosmetology students." Bikle said.

The stakes in the competition for her professional career also are high.

"If she places in the top three, she will move onto an international skills competition and receive training from an international company," Bikle said. "She has always been willing to practice and work as hard as she can."

Trail attributes her success to the support she has received.

"The school has been very supportive of me," Trail said. "My faith is also very important to me, and my church, Victory Tabernacle in West Virginia, has been very supportive."

In addition to the competition, Trail will participate in a community service project during her stay in Kansas City.

Trail said she plans to earn a senior cosmetology license, then her master's license in two years and eventually open her own business.

For now, however, Trail said she is focused on the competition.

"Usually, by the time I get done work and practicing for the day and drive home, its 9:30 p.m. and I go right to bed," Trail said.

"I normally like to go out with guys and hang out with friends, but right now, I don't have the time," Trail said. "I hardly even see my family."

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