Benjamin Stoddert Middle School sixth grader Justin Tate, left, and seventh grader Reggie Johnson, check out sixth-grade reading teacher Holly Walshs freshly-shaved head.
WALDORF, Md. (June 07, 2017)—About a month ago, the eight-member Builder's Club at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Waldorf started collecting money for Relay for Life Charles County. Eighth graders Alyssa Gerhart and Taylor Somerville asked the band teacher, Daniel DiCocco, if he'd be willing to shave his head if the club reached a certain monetary goal.
He said he'd do it for $2,000. There was no way a small club was going to pull in that much, he figured. The Builder's Club collected donations outside of area businesses, put out coin collection jars at others and asked for a dollar or two from classmates.
As the collections grew, sixth-grade reading teacher Holly Walsh said she would be willing to shave her head—but the group would have to collect a total of at least $4,000. Walsh is a volunteer with Relay for Life Charles County, helping organize the event and participating. She lost her maternal grandmother, Mae Jesswein, to cancer in 2010. "She's the reason I Relay," Walsh said.
The Builder's Club raised more than $4,000, and on June 6 DiCocco and Walsh kept their promises. Walsh discussed why she was going through with it with her students. She wasn't getting rid of her long, dark hair for no reason. She asked them about the causes that they would be willing to do it for. "I want them to understand the background of it," Walsh said. "To see the reasoning behind it."
DiCocco doesn't have a personal reason for participating. He said he likes the students who asked him to be a part of it. "I can't believe they really raised so much money," he said. "That blew my mind. But it's a good cause … they whittled me down."
Diane Richards, a stylist at Nancy's Beauty Shop and a cancer survivor, first shaved DiCocco's head. Then, Richards lopped off Walsh's ponytail before getting out the clippers. While some girls urged Walsh to keep her sudden and asymmetrical bob, others encouraged her to get the buzz cut. "It's hair," Walsh said. "It'll grow back."
DiCocco, a first-year teacher at Stoddert, agreed. "At the end of the day, it's just hair. It'll grow back," he said. "It's my first year … I survived and I'm bald."
Relay for Life Charles County starts 6 p.m. June 9 at the Charles County Fairgrounds in La Plata. For more information, go to bit.ly/2qTSSrb.
Diane Richards, left, shaves teacher Daniel Di C occos head. Stoddert's Builders Club raised more than $4,000 for Relay for Life Charles County. The goal reached meant Di Co cco and sixth-grade teacher Holly Walsh would shave their head in front of students who donated to the fundraiser.