Former PCC student Myo Lai has won first place in the Junior Style Stars Competition, the largest student cosmetology competition in the country.
“When I first started, I couldn’t do anything,” Lai said, blushing.
He’s clearly come a long way since then. Lai beat out almost 300 other entries from across the country to win the top prize. First place includes a $5,000 cash prize and other various prizes that value at more than $50,000, including trips to Puerto Rico, Orlando, Las Vegas, and San Diego.
“His work went from being ordinary to extraordinary in a year’s time,” instructor and coach Sondra Shackelford-Blades said. “Today, Myo is an exceptional hairstylist.”
On hand to present the award was co-founder of Junior Style Stars Paul Barry. “Working with students is great,” Barry said. “It’s such a hard contest, with the largest prize in the beauty industry. It’s fun to be here.”
Associated Students President Simon Fraser and Board of Trustees member Dr. Jeanette Mann were there to help celebrate Lai’s achievement.
“I’m very pleased that he won this national competition,” Mann said. “He is an excellent example of student success. We are just so excited for this.”
“The opportunities that Myo is going to have are fantastic for him and the students around him,” Fraser said. “His design is stunning; worthy of PCC’s cosmetology program and the award he’s been given.”
The award was given to Lai at a presentation held in PCC’s Community Education Center. It was kept a secret from Lai in order to surprise him.
“I had a dream that I would win,” Lai said. “I can’t believe it.”
Ibrahim Naeem, supervisor of the CEC, was there to offer Lai congratulations as well.
“Thank you for distinguishing our cosmetology program,” he told Lai. “We are all very, very proud of you.”
Shackelford-Blades almost teared up at the presentation.
“When he started,” she said, ”he couldn’t put hair into a ponytail. Look at him now.”