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Annual Whoville Hairdo competition goes on as hands-on learning continues for cosmetology students

Lucas Dillon, a senior, used a bottle, wreaths and braids to make his Whoville updo look like a Christmas tree.

“It took me an hour and a half but it was all worth the while,” he said. “I always enjoy doing stuff like this.”

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The cosmetology students at Carroll County’s Career and Technology Center are once again styling creative Christmas-themed hairdos for the ninth annual Whoville Hairdo competition. But the hybrid model caused the once in-person event to be judged virtually. While students had less time to make their designs, they still pulled off styles with curls, pin-ups, glitter, slick-backs, stars and presents.

Dillon said the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which features people, or Whos, with creative yet outlandish hairstyles, was playing during class for inspiration.

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Wendy Litchfield, teacher of the cosmetology program, said students normally work on the designs during their clinical time, but they are not allowed to open the clinic due to the coronavirus pandemic and the hybrid learning model. One cohort of students attend in-person class Monday and Tuesday and the other cohort attends Thursday and Friday.

Carroll County Career and Tech Center teacher Wendy Litchfield shows off Holly Lou, one of the Whoville hairdos created by one of the juniors in her cosmetology class Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The masked head is one of 54 entries in the Whoville hairdo competition, now in its ninth year. The entries, created by both juniors and seniors this year, will be judged next week.
Carroll County Career and Tech Center teacher Wendy Litchfield shows off Holly Lou, one of the Whoville hairdos created by one of the juniors in her cosmetology class Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. The masked head is one of 54 entries in the Whoville hairdo competition, now in its ninth year. The entries, created by both juniors and seniors this year, will be judged next week. (Dylan Slagle / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Litchfield said she has 34 seniors, 20 juniors and “54 Who heads that need to be judged.” Prizes are given to the first, second and third place winners in each class. Litchfield said students could win hair products and “tools of the trade” like makeup brushes, curling irons and flat irons. She said prizes are usually better but the hair shows that donate the items are not giving away as much this year.

Normally, teachers and invited stylists would vote on the hairstyles in person. However, this year, pictures of styles will be sent to judges and voting will take place through a Google form.

Similar to Dillon, Laci Rothblun, a junior, also designed a Christmas tree hairstyle.

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“I took about three separate layers and I rolled them to make a gradual effect,” she said.

Christmas Tree Who, Martha May and Frosty the Lou-Man, three entries in the Whoville hairdo competition at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center are pictured Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.
Christmas Tree Who, Martha May and Frosty the Lou-Man, three entries in the Whoville hairdo competition at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center are pictured Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (Dylan Slagle / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Rothblun said the top had the least amount of volume and the bottom had the most. She bought a silver star from the dollar store, glued a stick to it to make a base and used it for the topper. She also used a red felt piece and added gifts toward the bottom of the silver-haired manikin’s head. The manikin was also decorated with flower bulbs and glittery eyelashes.

“I practiced for about five hours,” she said, adding it took her four hours on Thursday and about an hour on Friday to recreate it.

She said she entered the program not knowing much about cosmetology, but now she knows tons. Rothblun said Litchfield encouraged the class to step outside their comfort zone.

Litchfield said she was worried about whether they would be able to do it this year when schools were closed. While most Carroll County Public Schools students are in online-only learning mode, some small groups were able to remain in hybrid.

Senior entries in the Whoville hairdo competition at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center are pictured Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.
Senior entries in the Whoville hairdo competition at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center are pictured Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (Dylan Slagle / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

“Thankfully, the board members agreed to have Career and Tech open,” she said.

The cosmetology teacher said the designs are different every year. She was curious if students would put a mask on the manikin model heads. She said on Friday that’s exactly what students did.

Ashlynn Rowan, a senior, went a different route than some of her classmates who chose a big and bold look.

“I went for more classy and simple,” she said.

She slicked back the sides, curled the rest, added reindeer antlers, a nose and some rose gold glitter. The look took about an hour and a half, she said, and her love of mullets inspired the style.

She thinks it has the potential to win because its simplicity makes it stand out. But she is amazed by her competition.

Litchfield said cosmetology is difficult to teach online. Teachers cannot check if the haircut is done right or if hair dye was applied correctly.

The Candy Cane Forest, is one of the senior entries in the Whoville hairdos competition at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center are pictured Friday, Dec. 11, 2020.
The Candy Cane Forest, is one of the senior entries in the Whoville hairdos competition at the Carroll County Career and Tech Center are pictured Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (Dylan Slagle / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

“The idea is you learn the practical, hands on in here” and the theory of cosmetology online, she said.

Students are working on manikins for the time being, which is better than nothing, Litchfield said. They used to work on real people like the elderly or those who cannot afford salon prices. If given a pass, students worked on their friend’s hair too.

Though some CCPS parents chose to keep their kids 100% virtual, Litchfield said 100% of her students are hybrid learning.

“Going in person is important to us,” Rothblun said. “I think we wouldn’t be able to have this opportunity if we weren’t here.”

Ella Driscoll, a junior, said she and her classmates and teacher found a method of hybrid learning that works.

“It hasn’t been really difficult,” she said, “because we’ve been working together as a team.”

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