After only a few minutes of sheering, clumps of hair were blowing around like tumbleweeds Friday in the south parking lot at Columbine High School.
And the number of tumbleweed hairballs grew with each of the 175 students who sat down and forked over cash to have her hair buzzed right before prom.
The students were forsaking their follicles on behalf of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity that raises funds for research into childhood cancer. Groups across the country raise money for the organization with head-shaving events.
Friends and teachers shouted words of encouragement to the students brave enough to go bald for charity. Yet even though the locks were being lopped off for a good cause, that didn’t make it easier for spectators.
When two girls, Tyler Edmonson, 15, and Morgan Trost, 12, sat down to have their locks chopped, squeals of pain could be heard from a few girls in the crowd of onlookers.
“As bad as it sounds, I don’t have the courage to do that,” said Emily Owens, 16. “It’s awesome to see them do that for charity.”
Morgan said she wasn’t as nervous as last year because she knew what to expect.
“It was very, very cold after I got my hair cut (last year),” Morgan said. “For the first couple of weeks, it felt like my hair was in a giant ponytail.”
Edmonson, sporting a very tight buzz cut, said that despite the nerves that surfaced when the clippers started, she was determined to follow through on a small gesture that would help kids who battle cancer every day.
“I want to make sure they know they’re not alone,” Edmonson said.
But she wasn’t the only one dealing with hair loss. The boys were struggling to cope as well.
“I was a little nervous. I’ve never, ever been bald before. It’s a totally new thing,” said Dylan Nordeck, 18. “But it was for a good cause. The kids who have cancer — they don’t have a choice in losing their hair.”
The event was organized by four students — Cameron Trost, Dominic Odom, Zach Selby and Robert Morales — in the school’s business management class. By the end of the day, about $3,600 had been raised.
Trost, 18, said the idea behind an event like St. Baldrick’s is to find little ways to help make a difference.
“The little things matter. They can make a huge difference,” Trost said. “You don’t have to do big things to make a difference.”
The four students have carried that philosophy across South Jeffco as part of the Big Idea Project for their business leadership class. Their teacher, Bryan Halsey, gave the five groups in his class one mission: Find a need in the community and do something to help fill it.
The groups have attacked a variety of social problems, from human trafficking to suicide prevention, Halsey said.
“Initially, when they are assigned the project, it’s too big,” Halsey said. “We have business mentors with each group who help them realize you have three months. What can you actually accomplish in that time and what can you do to bring that into reality?”
Each group will present a narrative film about its experiences at 7 p.m. May 8 at Columbine High School. Each member of the winning group will receive a $500 scholarship; the groups will be judged based on their presentations and the work that went into the projects.
Contact Ramsey Scott at email@example.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine.