With every pep assembly comes excitement, and this Friday’s Winterfest festivity is no exception. As usual, there will be many performances, games and other antics. But most importantly, for the second consecutive year, students and administrators will be shaving their heads to raise awareness and money for Livingston County families affected by cancer with the organization Ribbon Warriors.
The charity was started by HHS alumni Sarah Cortez in 2015 as an alternative to the charity formerly used, St. Baldricks.
To start, freshman Nicole Macelli volunteered to go big and shave her whole head instead of only cutting her hair for donation. For her, it isn’t necessarily about school spirit.
“Mostly I’m supporting people with cancer,” Macelli says. “I just want to give back.”
Earlier in her lifetime, her uncle had Myeloma and someone kindly donated their bone marrow to save her uncle. She feels that it’s a way to pay back that person.
Next, freshman Connor Blankenship is participating. To him, it’s important to do it to show people care. He believes that anyone can go cut their hair but shaving your head takes real bravery.
“In fourth grade, my teacher had breast cancer and I shaved my head then so that she wasn’t the only one in the class that was bald ‘cause she was going through chemo,” Blankenship says.
Sophomore Cole Mullens is getting involved to get into the school spirit and because he thinks it’s a good thing to do for his school and community. Also, that just because he is a student does not mean he should not help out.
On a more personal note, Mullens is doing it because of a family connection.
“Everyone in my family gets cancer, and I’ve had like three grandmas that’ve already died from cancer,” Mullens says.
When Peyton Johnston, one of the junior shavees, heard about the opportunity to help, she felt it was an obligation.
“It’s just your hair. I sorta felt it was necessary to help,” Johnston says.
Johnston is especially happy to be raising money for local families.
“These are the people we go to school with and are going to graduate with. So, If they’re struggling, and I have the ability to help, why not?” Johnston says.
Like many others, Johnston’s family has been impacted by cancer, which also pushed her to help where she could.
Junior Jacob Falzone is doing it because he was going to originally shave his head for a late family member with cancer but unfortunately, wasn’t able to do it.
“It means a lot that were pushing towards helping other people… and help out families that actually need it ‘cause I know it’s a terrible thing. I’ve been through it, I’ve had a bunch of family members that had it and I understand how it feels to lose someone that’s really close to you,” Falzon says.
Similar to her fellow Ribbon Warriors participants, senior Samantha Evens has had loved ones affected by cancer.
“I think it’s nice that it’s local families, so there’s certain people who we might know that are getting help,” Evens added.
Avery Nelson, another senior here at HHS, always wanted to donate her hair, and is excited to have a chance to help a cause she cares about.
“I think it just shows that students actually care. They want to help people any way they can,” Nelson says.
Alongside the honorable students, a couple daring staff members will be shaving their heads and raising money for Ribbon Warriors. Security guard Mr. Luke Lamond and secretary Ms. Sharin Smith are the two staff participants this year.
Smith, despite being nervous about shaving her head, is happy to be helping such an important cause.
“I’ve had several family members and friends who have had cancer. Some passed away, some fought it, and some are still fighting,” Smith shared.
Smith had an uncle that passed away just a week ago, so the cause is especially relevant and important to her right now.
“As a school, I think it just shows how we can all come together in support of other people,” Smith says.
Lamond’s father and other family members currently have cancer. He is always volunteering for anything that has to do with cancer for this reason.
As a staff member, Lamond feels that it’s important to contribute as a staff member.
“It shows that if you want to stand up for something you can do it. It’s something that you can show kids there’s other people that are going through something and if you can help out and show support for those people then you should,” Lamond says.
Make sure to support and donate money to help local families affected by cancer. Shavees will be accepting donations online and in person through Feb. 17.