Cosmetology students at Archbishop Jordan Catholic High School have cleaned up at this year’s Skills Alberta Hairstyling Competition.
Colleen Nelson, cosmetology teacher at ABJ and provincial technical committee hairstyling chair for Skills Alberta, said two current students and one alumni from ABJ were recognized this year for their skills.
Samantha DiVencenzo, a Grade 11 student, took home bronze in intermediate bridal, Jenna Sanderson, a Grade 12 student, won gold in the senior category and Janae Visser, who graduated in 2019, is going to nationals to compete for a spot on Team Canada.
Nelson said all three women did outstanding in the competition this year.
“DiVencenzo spent about six to 10 hours a week practicing since January for one hairstyle, which she had 1.5 hours to complete,” explained Nelson. “She spent 50 to 60 hours or more to practice one hairstyle.”
Nelson said Sanderson also had to work hard due to the competition going online and going from a two-day affair to a one-day event.
“She did three competitions in one day’s time and started at 7:30 a.m. and went all the way until 4 p.m. doing three different hairstyles,” she said. “She did a men’s technical haircut, a women’s special occasion bridal, and a technical women’s fashion cut and colour.”
Sanderson is now moving on to compete for the national title on May 26, which is also being held virtually this year.
The teacher said Visser self-trained for the event this year, but took the program in 2019.
“She didn’t have to compete for the national titles because they decided kids who won gold in provincials would automatically get a spot on the Worlds team. She has a one in six shot because some of the provinces dropped out due to COVID,” Nelson said.
With three students placing or advancing to further competition, Nelson said she couldn’t be prouder of her students.
“It is so good for their portfolios or resumes when they move onto careers, even if they don’t go into hairdressing, because it shows the amount of dedication or hard work they put into something — that speaks volumes,” Nelson said. “I’m super proud of the fact that ABJ students are putting in the hours and dedication and they are the ones making sure their work is becoming stellar. I can give them tips and tricks, but it is really all them. The dedication they put into all these events is amazing.”
Nelson hopes to continue to work with students at both ABJ and other schools in the province to help them compete provincially, nationally and internationally.