TCAT instructor making a difference in the lives of high school and college students

Published 11:10 am Monday, June 21, 2021

TCAT – The cosmetology instructor at TCAT Elizabethton, Toni Campbell, is making a difference in the lives of high school and college students. 

 “I am fortunate to be employed by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Elizabethton who provide tremendous encouragement and support to accommodate my time and energy working with SkillsUSA,” she said. 

In the Covid-19 pandemic years, Campbell has continued to fulfill a personal goal. In 2021, she has served as the contest chair for the National SkillsUSA Esthetics Competition.  

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This annual competition is only one of over 100 skills area contests designed to recognize top students in different trade areas of SkillsUSA. SkillsUSA is a student focused organization with a primary goal of developing a highly skilled workforce throughout the United States. 

Each skill area contest has two categories; one for secondary or high school students and one for post-secondary or college enrolled students. The two categories perform identical tasks during the competition, and each will recognize 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners. Students competing at the national level have previously won at their local region or district level and have continued on to win at state level contests held throughout the Spring each year. 

“The Esthetics industry was recognized as a rapidly growing career area specializing in treatments and care of the skin. This contest began in 2008 and has climbed in popularity due to the industry growth and interesting display of skills and artistic talents of the contestants.”  

Campbell said when the annual event takes place, the participation of contestants and observant spectators is impressive. 

“This competition measures a vast array of skills considered to be crucial to success as a professional esthetician. The timed skills measured by industry recognized judges include a written knowledge exam, oral presentation, preparation and demonstration of a cleansing massage, basic facial, beauty makeup application, fantasy makeup application and professionalism,”  

Each year a new theme is announced in the Fall; the annual theme for 2021 is CARNIVAL and is to be used to inspire the creation and final appearance of the Fantasy Makeup Application. As the contest closes, it is a traditional practice of parade finale occurs, during this, each contestant provides a self-introduction of their name, home state and description of their fantasy theme allowing others to view the artistry and creativity of the completed projects. 

Due to Covid-19, the 2021 event has been run virtually with contestants providing their efforts during a live zoom sessions from their school or training facility. The sessions for the Esthetics competitions were held over 5 days and were attended by the contestants and their live models as well as industry recognized judges from across the country and was facilitated by myself.  

“Annually, my responsibilities are to organize the contest including development of updates to performance tasks, rules and scoring. This involves working with dedicated committee members representing the education and professional areas of esthetic experts in efforts to maintain focus on changing trends and practice. Additional tasks include creating and maintaining relationships with industry sponsors who provide supplies for the contest and impressive prize packages to the winning contestants,”   

Campbell said her personal efforts are volunteered with a goal of increasing awareness and continued growth in the cosmetology industry areas.  

One of Campbell’s students, Kenlee Blake Hall, state gold medalist in barbering, is competing at the national level for a gold medal. National SkillsUSA results are expected to be announced on Thursday, June 24. 

This link provides access my personal album of the Esthetics contest held at the 2019 National Skills and Leadership Conference held in Louisville Kentucky. The theme for 2019 was OPTICAL ILLUSION. 

Many other facts and information about the SkillsUSA organization can be found at