CUMBERLAND — Having worked on the local Polar Express, Matthew McKay blended his knowledge of trains into a holiday confection.
McKay, 16, was tasked with designing a unique gingerbread structure for the Center for Career & Technical Education’s annual SkillsUSA Showcase competition Wednesday.
“I decided to make a steam engine,” he said of his creation that included cotton candy steam and a cart filled with cookie coal.
The skills event included 11th graders who demonstrated their work in fields including culinary arts and cosmetology.
Terri Yost, guidance secretary at the school, said students were scored on various aspects of projects, and the top three in each competition were eligible for a regional contest next year.
The skills competition gives students a sense of pride and accomplishment, said Jenean Fazenbaker, school counselor.
“It’s a reinforcement that they made the right decision to come here,” she said of the Career Center.
Culinary instructor Phil Carter said his students each made a gingerbread project.
“They had to make them from scratch,” he said.
CCTE cosmetology teacher Amber Weimer said her students were each given photos of hair curls and updos to replicate on a mannequin.
In addition to hair, nails and aesthetics, which includes extravagant makeup and facials, may be part of the competition.
Brittney Klavuhn, 16, said a chance to compete in the regional showcase would add to her professional portfolio.
She plans to enter the business world when her education is complete.
“My friend graduated last year from here and we want to open a salon together,” Klavuhn said.
Baylee Mowbray, 17, is a senior at CCTE and one of last year’s three finalists in the junior competition.
She will compete this year with seniors in the upcoming skills event.
“I’m gonna do hair,” Mowbray said. “That’s my specialty.”
After graduation, she plans to intern at Studio 757 Salon, and her classmate, Shelby Atwood, 17, will intern at Shine Studio.
“You can get your (cosmetology) license right out of school,” Mowbray said. “It’s amazing.”