By Sean Barron
It’s not often the Mahoning County Career & Technical Center is the site of a staged crime scene mixed with a little cosmetology, graphic design and carpentry.
Then again, it’s a rarity to see the facility’s classrooms converted to a makeshift beauty shop or a simulated crime scene complete with fake blood and a chalk outline of a body.
“I instructed my team on the sketch, collection of evidence, photos and fingerprinting,” said Mark Shook, a sophomore at Portage Lakes Career Center in Portage County.
Mark and his team, juniors Josh McArthur and Richard Kirby, took part in the crime-scene- investigation contest, one of 28 categories that made up Saturday’s 2013 SkillsUSA Ohio Northeast Regional competition at the career center, 7300 N. Palmyra Road.
Students from 15 Northeast Ohio high schools were nominated for and competed in the three-hour event, designed to showcase participants’ leadership, professional and technical skills.
A sampling of events included advertising and design, automotive refinishing and service, computer maintenance, criminal justice, medical terminology, cosmetology, welding, graphic communications and extemporaneous speaking.
Shook, who hopes to enlist in the Army after high school, said he may consider becoming a detective or a crime-scene investigator after serving in the military.
“[The competition] gave me a very serious outlook on crime scenes,” he said. “Once we got in there, we got down to business.”
Fenders were in front of Derick Edwards, an East High School senior who competed in the auto- refinishing event.
Edwards’ duties were to repair a quarter panel, door, moldings and window, then take a written test, he explained, adding that he plans to attend a technical school near Houston after graduating.
Fenders also were the main theme of Nicholas Philips’ work.
The senior from East Palestine High School first used a hammer and another tool to remove a dent from a front fender, then, in another similar event, he added a filling agent to a dent to make that area smoother and more level with the rest of the panel, he explained.
Philips, who hopes to be a welder or an auto-collision specialist, also performed six packing welds (holes to be filled in the piece of metal) and several lap welds (welding two overlapping pieces of metal along the seams).
Doing her own brand of overlapping was Savannah Heeter, an MCCTC senior who was in the photography competition and used software and digital editing to fuse four photos into one to form an image with an Americana theme.
Also partaking of interactive multimedia techniques was MCCTC senior Jasmine Lorenzi, who had several projects that entailed working with a printing press, designing and laying out a magazine or brochure, assembling a folder and cutting a paper diagram. A multiple-choice test followed, said Lorenzi, who plans to be a psychologist.
Getting down to the business of beauty were Shelby Jaberg and Morgan Wohlheter, seniors at R.G. Drage Career Center in Massillon.
Jaberg used Marisa Ellison of Massillon as a model, designed dandelion patterns on her green-acrylic fingernails and made the edges smoother, explained Jaberg, who said she hopes to work in a beauty salon.
“We had to create our own design and take a written test,” said Wohlheter, who, along with fellow student Morgan Morrison, used braiding, looping, twisting and other techniques to design hair on mannequins as part of the cosmetology competition.
Morrison, who was in last year’s event and went to the state competition, said she hopes to own a salon after high school.
An estimated 411 students and advisers were in the hands-on gathering, which was similar to an athletics competition, noted John Zehentbauer, MCCTC’s director.
The top three finishers in each category are to compete in the 61st annual SkillsUSA state championships in April in Columbus.