Staff and students raise money to fight cancer and support a local family
|Nathan Hopper shaves his mother,
Brenda Hopper’s head at the 16th annual Teacher Head Shave Auction at Pine Ridge SS.
On December 13, students who contributed the most money to a teacher's fundraising efforts, had the opportunity to shave that teacher's head at the 16th annual Teacher Head Shave Auction at Pine Ridge Secondary School in Pickering.
"Usually four to five teachers are willing to do this. The money collected goes to the Fred Miller Family Fund and to the Canadian Cancer Society," explains Phil Matsushita, Principal at Pine Ridge Secondary School. Fred Miller was an English teacher at Pine Ridge SS who passed away from cancer 10 days before the birth of his third child. After his passing, teachers at Pine Ridge SS began the annual tradition of the Teacher Head Shave Auction to provide assistance to Miller's family.
Over the three previous weeks, five male and one female teacher had been raising money at school with other staff and students, and outside of school with family and friends. Brenda Hopper, a School Support Program (SSP) teacher at Pine Ridge SS is the third female teacher ever to participate in the Teacher Head Shave fundraising event. Each participating teacher promises the person (usually a student) who contributes the most money to their fund to let them shave their head.
"This is a bucket list moment," says Hopper, who lost a student to cancer five years ago, and her own mother three years ago. Hopper gathered her donations from internal and external sources such as a Facebook group she started, and at Pine Ridge SS's music night event. On Facebook she raised over $500 and approximately $200 at the music night event. On the day of the event, Hopper was at just over $2000, with donations still rolling in from the Facebook group.
Chop it off
Brenda Hopper proudly
shows off her trimmed locks at the
16th annual Teacher Head Shave Auction
at Pine Ridge SS.
Hopper's son's hockey coach Rick Chow was the highest contributor to her fund, raising $125. Chow decided instead to nominate Hopper's son Nathan to shave his mother's head. Nathan accepted, and he brought a teammate with him to help.
Even more money is raised when the emcee facilitates an auction to beat the highest contributor's bid for each teacher.
One by one, teachers sat center stage in the cafeteria while students shaved their heads with electric clippers and little-to-no barbering experience. Students only had a short amount of time to complete the task, so many teachers were left looking unfinished when their time was up. Afterwards, Hopper donated her hair to Pantene's Beautiful Lengths initiative. Beautiful Lengths partners with the Canadian Cancer Society to provide free, real-hair wigs to women living with cancer.
On what the fundraising and bidding experience is like for the students, Hopper says, "They are learning philanthropy. They love seeing it and participating in the event."
Post-event, the numbers were added up and the Teacher Head Shave Auction raised approximately $4,000. Of that total, Hopper raised $2,400. Her portion will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society, and the rest will go to the Fred Miller Fund.