Teachers shave heads for charity
April 22, 2023
On April 6, science teacher James O’Daniel and math teacher John Gilbert both raffled tickets for students to shave their heads at the academic pep assembly in support of St. Baldrick’s. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is an organization with the goal of raising money and awareness for childhood cancer research.
O’Daniel said he believes that a huge part of the haircutting is that it brings awareness to the foundation and its cause– to eventually bring in more donations to help the fight against cancer.
“I think one of the biggest things is that every new person that does [the head shaving] has a new group of people that become aware of the charity and new donors, and eventually it will come through full circle, the more people that do the hair cutting, the more people that know about the organization, the more kids they can save, and the more cancer they can get out of here,” O’Daniel said.
Gilbert said that he has participated by shaving his head for many years even before he came to Summit, he continued his tradition in support of another staff member who was fighting cancer at the time.
“I’ve been doing it for the last 18 years. My previous school did it during Christmas time for adopted families, then when I came here to Summit four years ago we did it to raise money for one of our teachers who was battling cancer and then last year and this time I decided to do St. Baldricks because that’s what [math teacher Samuel] Haug does and I kind of piggyback off of his idea,” Gilbert said.
Haug said that he has a personal connection with St. Baldricks because for the past eight years, he has been shaving his head to honor the memory of his brother-in-law, and has been raising money for St. Baldricks to continue supporting him.
“So this is my eighth year [shaving my head]. My brother-in-law passed away in 2014 from brain cancer, he was 29 years old and before he passed away St. Baldricks was the charity that he always donated to and always worked with so kind of just doing it in his memory that every spring I shave my head and donate money to St. Baldricks in his honor,” Haug said.
In the past eight years he has been with St. Baldricks, Haug said he’s taken donations only from other staff members at Summit and has raised over $10,000.
“I think that I’ve raised $13,000 in eight years. My first year was like right at $1,000 and most years are around $1,700-$1,800 and only the teachers at school donate, I don’t ask my friends or my family just only the teachers at school, it’s pretty cool,” Haug said.
Gilbert said that he will shave his head every two years to allow it to grow out and donate it if it’s at the right length and get students excited about being able to shave his head.
“This is something I do every two years. I grow my hair out for two years and it gives an incentive for kids to be like ‘Hey let’s cut all of that off’ then two years to do it again. If my hair is long enough I’ll donate it but if not I’ll just cut it off, but this time it wasn’t long enough,” Gilbert said.
O’Daniel said that in previous years he has also shaved his head with Gilbert so he was excited to participate again.
“I’ve [shaved my head] before I did it about five years ago, I know I did it with [Gilbert] then too, so he came up and asked if I wanted to do it again and I said ‘Sure sounds good’ and it’s an easy way to raise money and awareness for this charity,” O’Daniel said.