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Cosmetology student advances to nationals in nail care

In an arena full of thousands of students from around Texas, senior Danna Martinez’s name flashed on the jumbotron as the announcer presented her to the crowd as the state champion for nail care and design. Danna will travel to Atlanta, Georgia in July to represent the state at the national event for SkillsUSA.

“I cried when I found out that I won at state,” Danna said. “I was really excited because winning at district was cool, but I had already started thinking about state and going to nationals, so finding out that was actually happening was amazing.”

Danna did not always have the confidence that she would be able to achieve this feat but has grown as a technician and artist to dominate the field.

“It’s crazy that I’m going to nationals because I didn’t want to do this at the beginning,” Danna said. “Now that I’m going to nationals for an entire week and get to do the whole experience, I’m really excited.”

Though Danna’s confidence may have started off shaky, cosmetology teacher Sharonda Williams knew from the start that Danna would excel. 

“I knew I had a national winner, and I said it from day one,” Williams said. “I spoke it into existence. The reason I could do that is because Danna is really good, and she’s a competitor. Everybody can compete, but she is a true competitor. She’s able to focus and always wants to do it better.”

Williams has taught Danna since her sophomore year of high school and has enjoyed watching her abilities develop.

“I have seen Danna grow tremendously because this is not what she really wanted to do,” Williams said. “Her talent is there, and she really has a gift. I have seen her flourish in so many ways.” 

Williams’ constant encouragement and tutelage have prepared Danna to compete at the national level. 

“I am very optimistic, so I have imagined going to nationals, but now that it’s actually happening, it’s a little mind-blowing that I actually won state,” Danna said. “I appreciate everything Mrs. Williams has done for me and how she has encouraged me to try this.”

Danna plans to continue working on her Betty Boop design, which she won using at state, by enhancing it and adding more details.

“To prepare, I practice every day,” Danna said. “I just have to work on my nerves and be confident. I need to focus and not pay attention to what everyone else is doing because I already know what I am doing.”

Williams said that seeing a project to completion and working on the fine details is one of the most difficult tasks because it takes endurance and dedication.

“A lot of times, people don’t know how to finish, but Danna is capable of finishing,” Williams said. “That confidence is, ‘I’ve got this.’ Knowing that she is good takes her to the next level. And at nationals, that’s what she’s going to have to do.” 

It’s students like Danna that keep Williams coming back to the classroom. 

“Working with these girls is so rewarding that it makes me stay one more year each year,” Williams said. “When I’m feeling down, these types of successes make me know that what I’ve done and what I’m doing isn’t in vain.”

Williams said that Danna has a magical touch, and anything she does, she does well.

“Anything Danna does, anything I show her, she is capable of doing and excelling at,” Williams said. “She has it. And I tell her that. That’s important because it is everything. She’s a well-rounded young lady and will go far in life.”

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Addison Perry
Addison Perry, Staff Writer
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