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RHS students excel at district SkillsUSA

The Russellville High School Cosmetology Department took 24 students to compete at the Northern District competition for SkillsUSA and left with four students receiving medals and several others qualifying for the state competition.

The competition Feb. 28 in Hanceville showcased students from 50 schools and allowed them the chance to showcase their skills and network with other like-minded individuals.

“They learn leadership and teamwork, but most of all they learn about their future careers,” said RHS cosmetology instructor Lisa Keeton.

Keeton said to compete in any category, students must present a resume, cover letter and business card, which Keeton said is beneficial to students no matter what career they decide to pursue.

Sophie Hill received the gold medal in the interview category and the best SkillsUSA test score. Kiley Gillespie earned the silver medal in action skills.

In customer service, Gabriella Soto received a silver medal, and Rosa Marovilla placed fourth. Haley Hasha earned a silver medal in prepared speech, followed by Anna Gomez in fourth place.

Three students participated in the team class project, which placed fourth. These students were Christina Presley, Mario Cruz and Maura Francisco.

Erica Cruz placed fourth in Job Skills A, which allows students to demonstrate skills they will use in their future career endeavors, and Emily Gipson placed fifth in Job Skills Open, where students demonstrate skills not related to their careers.

Salvador Perez also placed fourth in extemporaneous speaking.

These students will travel to the Birmingham-Jefferson Civic Center April 13-15 to compete in the state competition for SkillsUSA.

While at the SkillsUSA State Competition, three students will receive the Statesman Pin: Hill, Presley and Francisco.

Keeton said it is wonderful to see her students perform so well, but the best part is seeing the student reactions when they realize how well they did.

“For some of these students, they had never really been successful in academics,” Keeton said. “The thing about SkillsUSA is we have these students compete in something that suits their personality or would be best for their set of skills. To see them go out there and perform so well – for the first time they get to see themselves be successful in something. The look of pride on their faces is priceless.”

RHS Career Tech director Natalie Bendall said she is not surprised to see so many students have success, with as hard as Keeton works.

“Our teachers do a phenomenal job preparing our students for the real world and for their future careers,” Bendall said. “We are so proud of our students and our teachers for everything they accomplish.”