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Abilene career and technology students to head to state competition

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ABILENE, Texas - Dozens of Abilene ISD high school students are studying and packing their bags this week to head to a state competition for career and technology students.

About 70 high school students from AISD qualified to compete in five different areas like electrical work and cosmetology at the Skills USA competition in Corpus Christi.

"In the hairstyling, I do a men's haircut, two women's haircuts and an up do," said Abilene High School senior Tianna Williams.

Williams said she's ready for the competition and ready to enter the workforce thanks to this program.

"I kind of do hair just for fun now, so when I heard about the opportunity I was like, 'Oh yeah I should do that,'" Williams said.

Connie Ross is an instructor and former Abilene High cosmetology student. She knows all about the hard work it takes.

"Oh [it takes] a lot of practice they spend lots of evenings up here, and they practice some during school, but it just takes a lot," Ross said. "They started preparing … since November."

In the electrical trades garage, it'll be Jon McAden's last year. He's retiring after three decades as an instructor.

"[It's] bittersweet," McAden said. "I really got the guys to do more this year."

Mac, as he's known to students, is hoping to go out on top.

"It's just like an athletic event," McAden said. "You want to compete to win and just the competition of it, the learning abilities, there's scholarships involved."

"It's nerve wrecking, but you know I'm ready for it," said senior Mark Alvarez.

Alvarez said he's also ready to show off his electrician skills one last time.

"I feel a little pressure, but I've been practicing, and I've been studying for this, and I'm ready to show what I can do and prove and hopefully make Mac proud," Alvarez said.

The competition will take place this Friday and Saturday. They'll find out who wins and advances to the national competition Sunday morning.

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