SPRINGFIELD — A Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) cosmetology student captured first place in the annual contest for the David and Andrea Whitman Scholarship. Annika McDonald received $1,000 for her stylistic creation. Competing against 19 of her classmates on March 26, she sculpted a swirling, auburn hairdo on a mannequin’s head.
The students were given an hour to create hairstyles that were judged by professionals from area salons. They also submitted essays and sat down for interviews with the judges.
“I love waves. I love the movement of hair,” McDonald said. “I love how it’s different. It’s not your average bridal piece. It’s not curly. It’s just sculpted on there.”
STCC cosmetology students Kathleen Murphy and Sierra Blanchard shared second place, each receiving $700.
The annual scholarship is awarded in memory of David Whitman. He and his wife, Andrea, were local salon owners and educators. A strong believer in education, David Whitman selected STCC as the school for the scholarship.
The late Bill Ochoa of Ochoa Salon & Spa in East Longmeadow and South Hadley and Maureen Bellucci of Bellucci Salon & Day Spa in Springfield developed the scholarship, which has been awarded annually for the past 16 years. Ochoa, STCC faculty, and the judges raised the money for the scholarship, along with area salons that helped raise money with several fashion shows, silent auctions, and performances.
McDonald, who is working toward a cosmetology certificate, said she planned to put her scholarship money toward her education. She wants to take more classes to improve her styling skills.
“It’s been a big dream of mine to even compete in this, let alone win it. I’m pretty shocked to win,” she said. “I just let my creativity flow, and this is what I came up with. They loved it, and I’m happy this is how it turned out.”
This year’s judges were Judy Puffer of Puffer’s Salon & Day Spa, Margaret Ochoa of Ochoa Salon & Spa, Alicsia O’Connor of Alicsia O the Salon in Springfield; and Edward Lockhart and Steven Siclari of Changes Salon in Northampton.