Gales Give Back – The Start of a LHS Tradition

Cosmetology students create a new event for the SkillsUSA competition
LHS Cosmetology teacher Leah Morgan with the three seniors,  Gabrielle Brown, Kennedy Morehart, and Lauren Hines. Photo courtesy of LHS Yearbook.
LHS Cosmetology teacher Leah Morgan with the three seniors, Gabrielle Brown, Kennedy Morehart, and Lauren Hines. Photo courtesy of LHS Yearbook.

The first ever Gales Give Back community event was created by three Lancaster High School students and took place on March 3rd at Lancaster High School. This event was hosted by seniors in the Cosmetology Career Technical Program. LHS seniors, Kennedy Morehart, Lauren Hines, and Gabrielle Brown designed the event for a SkillsUSA competition. The 2024 national theme for SkillsUSA is “No Limits.”

Gales Give Back was a free event that showcased different student pathways that LHS has to offer. The event provided activities such as manicures from the Cosmetology class, raffle baskets from the Culinary class, general car inspections from the Auto Tech class, and games from the LHS Interact club just to name a few. There were a total of fourteen groups that participated, with the other eleven groups being Criminal Science, SkillsUSA, NHS, Chase Haley Project, United Way, Key Club, CT Ambassadors, and the LHS football, basketball, and baseball teams.

“The overall goal of Gales Give Back is to showcase to our community about what LHS and Lancaster can do. So many people don’t realize how much we as a community have to offer, such as career tech programs, college courses, and extracurricular activities,” Brown said.

Morehart, Brown, and Hines all had the same goal in mind.

“Our goal was to help give back to the community; to give something to do for everyone to have fun and learn about what our school offers,” Morehart said.

The CT Student Ambassadors working at the Lego table. Photo courtesy of Morehart.

LHS Cosmetology teacher Leah Morgan said the students took on a significant responsibility to design, plan, and follow through with a high-level competition project.

“These young women put in a lot of time and effort and energy to make this event a success. Their passion and drive to reach their goal was remarkable. Their contributions to our SkillsUSA organization is invaluable,” she said.

Part of the design of the event was to solicit resources from the school and the community.

¨We received 500 dollars in donations, $250 from the Chase Haley Project, and $250 from B&B auto glass. Salon Centric donated professional salon products. Nick’s Pizza donated ten free pizzas to provide for the helpers after the event. Tim Hortons donated hot chocolate as well as donuts for everyone as well,¨ Brown said.

Although the event was successful, there were some challenges that had to be overcome.

“The hardest part was getting everyone involved and getting sponsors. Luckily we had gotten sponsors and many of our teachers and students to help,” shared Hines.

Overall attendance by the community was less than what they originally hoped for, but it was definitely a step in the right direction.

¨We had a smaller turnout than expected, but it is the first year for the event. Some of us are planning on continuing this next year! Hopefully, it will grow and become a forever thing. We are hoping we started a new tradition that can be student-led,” said Brown.

As part of the SkillsUSA competition, the three girls have an opportunity to qualify for state and then go to the national competition if they win. The next step is in Atlanta to compete in the national competition. SkillsUSA is an organization designed for students that are involved in a career technical program, to demonstrate their career abilities and learn professionalism.

An important aspect of these competitions is to stand out. Caroline Davis, the Career Tech Principal pointed out that the Gales Give Back was different from other types of projects in years past.

“This is a huge undertaking by the students that created it and much more involved than a typical SkillsUSA contest or event,” said Davis.

Davis applauded the effort the students put in to make this event a success.

LHS Culinary program with their raffle baskets and dirt cake samples. Photo courtesy of Morehart.

“I think it is an awesome idea. The students have put a lot of work into it and it should be a WIN-WIN for Career Tech and the high school,” Davis said.

¨The trio will compete in the state competition on April 9th and 10th with a chance to qualify for the National Competition. Brown knows exactly what they will be scored on.

¨We are being scored on the planning of our event as well as our outcome and our physical binder as well as our oral presentation,¨ Brown said.

These three students paved their own path with the “No Limits” theme in mind and are proud of what they created.

“The best part about doing this is that we can proudly say that we have done something no one else has done; created an entire event from scratch that was completely run by us in our senior year! I am proud of us even if the outcome was not what we were hoping,¨ Brown stated.

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