SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Recent Savannah Technical College Barbering graduate Keith Longoria won a silver medal in the National SkillsUSA competition and Gold at the Georgia SkillsUSA Post-Secondary competition.

“Keith exceled with practical and leadership opportunities in our Barbering lab,” said STC Barbering Instructor Joycelin Primus. “He recognizes the importance of a strong work ethic, persistence, and intellectual integrity. He quickly became the most valuable member of our Skills USA student team and a role model for his newer classmates.”

Keith Longoria at the Savannah Technical College commencement. Photo by Amy Shaffer.

“I was nominated by my instructor just from a couple of semesters in class, showing up early, helping out where I could, learning as much as I could and keeping my grades up.”

It was STC Barbering Instructor Primus who nominated Longoria for the National SkillsUSA competition but she also had another important role, helping Longoria to decide to enter Savannah Tech’s Barbering program.

“When I looked into it I saw Ms. Joycelin Pre Primus as the instructor. When I saw her accolades and how she’d just won Instructor of the Year I figured I couldn’t go wrong, it would be the best for me.”

Regarding the program he said you get more than what’s in the book, you get live hands on experience.

“The stuff that Ms. Primus teaches, it kind of goes above and beyond for those that are willing to learn. She goes above and beyond out of her way to teach more things.”

Before coming to Savannah Tech to pursue barbering training, Longoria served 22 years in the U.S. Army as a systems administrator, chief warrant officer 3. He was deployed for two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. After retiring from the military, he worked as an Army contractor as a systems administrator for a year. Then he was hired as a GS12 with the Network Enterprise Center at Fort Stewart.

During his military service, Longoria cut his own and others’ hair. His hobby for barbering picked up after he retired. “I decided to take a risk and follow my passion for barbering with training at Savannah Tech,” said Longoria. “It is something I really enjoyed doing.”

Through SkillsUSA preparation and competition, he enjoyed learning new skills for haircuts. He said the competition also offered tremendous networking opportunities with service and product leaders in the barbering industry.

He was also one of four finalists for STC’s GOAL Student of the Year competition for 2022. He is a member of National Technical Honor Society (purple stole/cords) and wore red/white/blue cords at his commencement to represent his military service.

“My wife has been my number-one supporter to follow my dream to pursue barbering training and to open my own barbering business someday,” he said. Longoria’s wife is a labor and delivery registered nurse at Ft. Stewart, who is studying to be a nurse practitioner. They live in Richmond Hill with their 13-year-old son.

For those who are younger and may be thinking of someday having a career in the field of barbering Longoria says, “If they’re interested and they have a passion for doing that, helping others, definitely Savannah Tech is the way to go.”

Savannah Tech’s Barbering program prepares students to be on the cutting edge of men’s fashion and trends with training to test for licensure as a professional barber. The program features barbering services such as cutting, trimming, shampooing, styling hair, trimming beards and giving shaves. It is offered at the College’s Savannah and Liberty campuses. For more information click here.

SkillsUSA is a national career and technical student organization/competition that annually serves more than 395,000 high school, college and post-secondary students–and their instructors–in technical, skilled and service-occupation instructional programs.