The budding barbers and stylists each lapped the bus loop the most times during Monday's Racing for a Cure event, which raised $427.05 for the American Cancer Society. Students and faculty members celebrated cancer survivor Maddie Thompson, who circled the route with her mother, fellow students and faculty members.

As all the students waited with anticipation, the countdown began — three, two, one — and the hair began to fall.

At that moment, students from each grade cut lengths of hair from volunteering teachers to donate to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program in the Veterans Elementary School gymnasium Tuesday, May 9. The budding barbers and stylists each lapped the bus loop the most times during Monday’s Racing for a Cure event, which raised $427.05 for the American Cancer Society. Students and faculty members celebrated cancer survivor Maddie Thompson, who circled the route with her mother, fellow students and faculty members.

Christine Meredith, who organized the service project for second and fifth grade students, sat in the row of teachers and students donating at least eight inches of hair to create wigs to benefit people fighting cancer. Meredith said whether they were cutting hair, donating hair or cheering, the children were enthusiastic and smiling during the unique haircuts.

“I think it was amazing to get to see they’re willing to donate and to help other people, and then the other kids are so excited because it is for a good cause. And even our teachers being willing to let the kids cut their hair is a little bit scary,” she said with a laugh. 

Third grade teacher Heather Feldkamp agreed.

“It was a lot fun to have them go ahead and do the cutting for us, because they were very excited to get to take part in it too,” Feldkamp said.

Feldkamp said that several students in the school have been touched by cancer in some way, and their excitement during Racing for a Cure and the haircuts highlighted their dedication to the cause. 

Third grader Noelle Powell said she discussed donating her hair with her mom, and they agreed “it was time to chop it off.”

“It made me feel good, because I’ve had long hair for a while,” Powell said. “I was pretty happy about it, too.” 

Fellow third grader Piper Berhorst also donated some of her hair as her parents Katie and Daniel looked on.

“I actually was pretty nervous when I did it, and now I feel proud of myself,” Piper Berhorst said. 

She said she doesn’t like that there aren’t good cures for cancer yet, but she felt it was important to encourage people who are fighting the disease. Her mother said she felt similar emotions as her daughter gave her donation.

“It’s really awesome to see her donate something of herself to help other people,” said Katie Berhorst. “It makes you proud as a parent that she has made that decision on her own.”

Berhorst commended Veterans faculty members for showing students how they can work together as a team to make a difference in the community. Many of the teachers make sure to grow their hair out a little longer before the haircut event. Para educator Stephanie Rosen was donating hair for her fourth time in five years.

“For the kids, it was amazing for them to be able to witness this and to see them as an adult to say ‘look at them do it, I can do it as well,’” she said. “It’s definitely such a blessing to see that. They look up to us as role models.”

As students and teachers shared smiles and laughs, stylists like Sissie Elliott from Dimensional applied finishing touches to each person’s new hairstyle. When everyone gathered together and showed off their bags of hair ready for donation, they reflected how teamwork at Veterans Elementary School made a big impact in the fight against cancer.

 

Reach reporter Trevor McDonald at trevor.mcdonald@courierpost.com