Monday, July 11, 2022
Isaiah Jackson, right, a CVTC Cosmetology student, took third place for barbering in the national SkillsUSA competition in Atlanta, recently.
Isaiah Jackson hadn’t planned on cutting people’s hair for a living, but his aspirations got the best of him.
“I never would have imagined going to school for cosmetology … but I decided to follow a passion of mine, which is doing hair,” he said.
Less than a year after he started the Cosmetology program at Chippewa Valley Technical College, the Altoona High School graduate competed in the SkillsUSA national competition in Atlanta and placed third overall with his skills in barbering – a feat that has never been accomplished by a CVTC student previously.
“I was confident, yet nervous while going into the national competition,” he said. “I felt that I had what it took to win, but I didn’t neglect the fact that I would be going up against the best collegiate barbers.”
Jackson, 23 of Eau Claire, began the Cosmetology program in August 2021 and will graduate in two months with a technical diploma.
For the competition, Jackson’s tasks were to imitate two haircuts, create his own design and interact in mock interviews.
Becky Hicks, a CVTC cosmetology instructor with 24 years of experience under her belt, said Jackson was the only CVTC cosmetology student to place first in his field at state, which boosted him to the national competition.
“Words can’t even express how proud we are of him. We cried as he walked to the stage and then some more after he received his medal,” Hicks said. “He has always amazed us with his talent and dedication towards his work.”
Jackson began preparing in February for the state competition in April.
“He has worked countless hours studying and practicing to prepare for this opportunity to compete at the national level,” Hicks said. “He is a student that sets a great example, and others respect and look up to him.”
Jackson credits his instructors, Hicks, who graduated from CVTC, and Emily Dittner for preparing him well for the competition.
“I wasn’t caught off guard by any of the expectations or tasks that needed to be done while competing,” he said. “I was relieved when I learned I placed third. Placing third taught me that I can always do better, and there will always be people that I can learn from.”
With his bronze medal, Jackson was gifted barbering equipment, opportunities for scholarships and “an amazing experience to add to my resume.”
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