June 14, 2013
It began with seven students and one teacher. It would end with 10 participants, each donating 10 inches or more of their own hair for Locks of Love.
Chelsea Hartman teaches second grade at St. Anthony’s School. She’d been growing her hair out for two years with a mission: to donate her “beautiful” hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that assists children who may not have hair due to illness.
“When I began teaching last year, I noticed how many of the students here had such beautiful long hair,” said Hartman. “In the back of my mind, I was growing my hair out to donate and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be neat if I could get some of the students to donate their long hair with me?’”
The idea became reality as seven students prayed about this act of love and signed up to join Hartman. On May 13, the student body and staff gathered in St. Anthony’s Gym to witness. A local professional stylist, known as Francisco, created 10-inch ponytails and began cutting.
“I volunteered to go first, to show the girls it wouldn’t be so scary,” said Hartman, “and I listened to the sound of the scissors cutting through my hair. To my surprise, the student body began cheering for me and next thing I know, I was handed my 15-inch ponytail. It felt surreal and I began to prepare the seven students to begin the same experience for themselves.”
Within minutes, the gym was filled with excitement and encouragement, according to Hartman, as the student body watched each of the seven students let go of something very close to them.
Each student was handed a red rose and “after” pictures were taken following a touchup by Francisco.
What was eight became ten at the last moment, according to Hartman.
“Inspired by our students, our school secretary, Gail Melendrez and our parish secretary, Aida Lemus, volunteered at the last minute to make a hair donation,” she said.
The final tally: 10 participants, consisting of seven students, one teacher and two secretaries, 126 inches, or 10 feet, six inches, of hair. The hair will be donated to Locks of Love to create wigs, said Hartman.
“It was a day in which we discovered the joy that comes from answering a call from above to give of what we have here on earth,” she said.