ESOL Student Adly Paau Pesquera Advances to National SkillsUSA Competition


Adly Paau Pesquera and her model, wearing Adly’s “Fantasy Theme” look.

Katharyn MacDonald, Contributor

After placing first in the SkillsUSA Maryland competition in esthetics, senior ESOL student Adly Paau Pesquera will be advancing to the national competition in Atlanta, Georgia in June. 

SkillsUSA is a showcase of the talents of thousands of students, celebrating their accomplishments as they prepare for careers in “trade, technical and skilled service occupations” (SkillsUSA). A first-place win in the state competition will take them to the national level, where they will compete for cash awards from $1,500-$7,000. 

According to SkillsUSA, “Outstanding career and technical education students compete hands-on in 110 different trade, technical and leadership competitions.” 

During the Maryland competition on March 25, Adly Paau Pesquera created and showcased an original “Fantasy Theme” face makeup look. To match the 2023 theme of “Fairy Tale,” Adly’s design featured two contrasting sides of the face, monstrous and beautiful, with accessories to create the look of Maleficent from the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. She did it all within the one-hour time limit.

Adly said that because Maleficent transforms into a dragon, she wanted to put together her two sides with a lot of detail. She said that the hardest part of creating the look was “the beauty side,” especially making the eyebrow appear to be thin. 

The other parts of the esthetics competition were a “Basic Facial,” a facial massage, the application of “Daytime Makeup” on a live model, and a brief verbal presentation on the “Fantasy Theme” look. The points totaled from all five sections determined the winners, and Adly received the gold medal. 

“I said to myself that it’s ok if I don’t win, because it’s a good experience and good memories,” said Adly. She was surprised by the win and is very excited to go to Atlanta and compete at the national level. 

She said, “I’m also a little bit nervous, because I don’t know how many competitors it’s going to have. I hope that it’s going to be great.” 

Adly’s superior ranking in the esthetics competition shows great talent across many skills. The judging criteria for the “Daytime Makeup” includes using makeup colors and techniques that complement the model’s face shape, facial features, age, skin tones, and eye color, while looking “fresh and relevant for modern times” (SkillsUSA). Her “Fantasy Theme” look was judged on the use of “Design Principles,” originality of design, and creativity in use of tools, accessories, and application techniques, as well as other factors. 

Belen Paau Pesquera also competed in the SkillsUSA competition for Masonry within the Home Improvement division. The sisters are from Guatemala and are proficient in English with Spanish as their native language. All communications within SkillsUSA, including instructions, are in English, so Adly and Belen have demonstrated impressive skill not only in their trades, but also in their command of a second language. 

After being in the cosmetology program at the Career and Technology Academy (CTA) for two years, Adly has learned a lot about how to put her passion into practice as her career. 

“When I was a child, I always wanted to be doing hair and makeup, but in Guatemala, there are no places like that (the CTA) where you can learn,” said Adly. “When I came here and saw the program, I was like, ‘Ok!’” She said she was excited by the prospect of learning about cosmetology professionally. 

ESOL teacher Mrs. Yvette Dodson is incredibly proud of her student Adly and her achievements in both English and cosmetology and esthetics. She said she is excited for her to show off her talent at the national competition in Atlanta, which will take place June 19-23.


Adly’s model, wearing her “Fantasy Theme” look.


Adly with her gold medal at SkillsUSA Maryland.
Adly with her gold medal at SkillsUSA Maryland.


Belen Paau Pesquera during the Masonry competition at SkillsUSA Maryland.