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For Whoville hairdo assignment, students create Seuss-inspired looks

Cosmetology seniors created hairdos shaped like Christmas trees and presents with bows for the Whoville Hairdo Competition.

All the seniors at the Carroll County Career and Technology Center, the tall and the small, were preparing for Christmas, with hairspray and light bulbs.

Students in the school's cosmetology program spent Wednesday afternoon putting the finishing touches on mannequin heads — but their designs were a bit different than what normally gets practiced.

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Instead of the typical perm, cut and color, the cosmetology seniors worked to create hairdos shaped like Christmas trees, snowstorms and presents with bows for the program's Whoville Hairdo Competition, an annual event at the Tech Center in which students take inspiration from the Dr. Seuss classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" to make fantastical looks.

Keirstien Mayne, 17, worked on her mannequin head — a tall, tree-shaped red hairstyle with red garland crawling up the strands. She'd stop to add glitter and apply hairspray every so often, then she'd step back to take the whole picture in before moving back in to add more.

"It's just a nice, creative assignment," Mayne said.

Getting to do this type of work allows them to explore and really just do what comes to mind, she added. Last year, as a junior, Mayne said, they got to see some of the hairstyles from the competition, giving them some ideas for this year.

"I don't know how many other schools would actually do this," she added.

As Mayne and a few others continued to work, others checked in or put finishing touches on their designs.

Rows and rows of mannequin heads lined a table, numbers placed in front, awaiting judging.

"It fits right into the holiday season," cosmetology instructor Wendy Litchfield said.

The judging will take place Thursday, she said. All of the staff, plus licensed cosmetologists, will judge the designs and choose first-, second- and third-place winners. Prizes include products and other tools that were donated to the school, she said.

Laura White, 17, also worked Wednesday to finish her piece. She was mixing a bit of Halloween and Christmas, choosing a hairstyle that was half Christmas tree, half witches' hat. The flat brim of the hat doubled as a tree skirt, the hair underneath as a blanket of snow.

This activity was especially fun, White said, because it allowed them to think outside the box and try new things.

Normally, she said, the students are working on the same styles at the same time. But for this assignment, everybody got to express their own ideas.

For White, the assignment really has been one to get her in the holiday spirit. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" has always been one of her favorite movies, she said.

"It's kind of hard not to think about Christmas when you're doing this," she added.

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Litchfield said that while this assignment is fun for the kids, it's also helpful because it's a theatrical lesson.

The hairdos might be silly, but they help prepare someone who could one day go to work on Broadway, she added.

"They get a little taste of what it's like working behind the scenes," Litchfield said.

And this year, especially, it brought joy to some of the kids who went through some tough experiences, she said.

"It brought a lot of holiday cheer to some kids that kind of needed it," Litchfield said.

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