Students and teachers at Calhoun and Mepham high schools are hoping that as many people as possible shave their heads en masse next month.
Both schools will host fundraisers for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a nonprofit organization that funds scientific and medical research to eradicate childhood cancer. During the St. Baldrick’s events, which will take place at 6 p.m. on March 19 at Calhoun and at 6 p.m. on March 20 at Mepham, participants will have their heads shaved by volunteer barbers and hairdressers as an expression of solidarity with children suffering from cancer.
2013 will be the seventh straight year that Calhoun has hosted a St. Baldrick’s head-shaving fundraiser. Mepham previously hosted events in 2008 and 2009.
Peter Magnuson, an English teacher and girls’ tennis coach at Calhoun, has organized the annual event at Calhoun since its inception in 2007. He said that he first encountered St. Baldrick’s that year at a fundraiser near where he lives in Northport and thought it would be a fun and positive thing for the Calhoun boys’ lacrosse team, which he coached at the time, to do together.
Magnuson said that St. Baldrick’s has since “become part of the culture of Calhoun. Many students and different teams and clubs
Calhoun has raised about $300,000 in the last six years, including about $55,000 last year, when more than 180 people had their heads shaved to support the St. Baldrick’s cause, according to Magnuson.
At Mepham, social studies teachers Christopher Patten and Kerry Dennis are having their students fulfill a community service requirement by doing fundraising work for St. Baldrick’s. “About four years ago, Kerry and I started doing senior service projects,” Patten said. “We’ve worked with Autism Speaks, Wounded Warriors, Special Olympics and the Ronald McDonald House. We’ve raised about $35,000.”
In addition to the head-shaving event, Mepham will host a semi-formal and a dodgeball tournament this spring that will benefit St. Baldrick’s.