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Chambersburg teen razes eyebrows, wins national title

July 03, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- Last week, Emily Gloss gave a speech and demonstration at the SkillsUSA competition that won her a national championship, not bad for a woman who could not speak at all as a child.

"I didn't start talking until I was probably 5 years old," said Gloss, a graduate of Chambersburg Area Senior High School and the Franklin County Career and Technology Center. That prompted her parents, William and Sheila, to take her to an Easter Seals speech therapy program, she said.

"I used to be a shy person," the 18-year-old said. She said she was shy to the point that her sister did most of the talking for her, answering questions addressed to her.

Gloss apparently has conquered that shyness, having taken district and state titles on her way to winning the national Job Skill Demonstration A competition last Thursday in Kansas City, Mo. Her demonstration of eyebrow tweezing, using fellow student Tara Bittinger as a model, was judged the best presentation from among 44 competing state champions.

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The 44 state champs were broken into three groups for a preliminary round, from which nine finalists were chosen, Gloss said. In the finals, her score was 843.8 out of a possible 1,000 points, putting her about 90 points ahead of the silver medalist, she said.

Tweezing the perfect eyebrow arch might not sound difficult, but Gloss said there were lots of critical eyes watching, including the six judges.

She got high marks for her presentation, but was cutting it close at the end. Presentations were supposed to take five to seven minutes. A judge later told Gloss that hers timed out at 6:59.

"The biggest thing in the competition is, when the student is done, the judges should be able to do that skill," said Roberta Johnston, vocational supervisor at the center. Competitors had to be technically proficient and able to explain what they are doing to a layman, she said.

"One of the things I saw was her determination," said Johnston, whose husband, Roy, coached Gloss. "She made her mind up in January she was going to win the nationals."

Before each level of competition - district, state and national - Gloss told her father she was coming home with a medal.

Gloss has a good start on her career as a stylist for Exxtreme Trends Salon in Shippensburg, Pa. She plans to study to get a teaching license from the center and one day have her own salon.

The center sent nine students to SkillsUSA this year and has produced three gold medalists and a silver medalist in the past four years, Johnston said.

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