The strange cacophony of bouncing basketballs and buzzing razors filled the East Wake High School gymnasium Tuesday night.
The school hosted its second annual head-shaving event to cap a fundraising drive for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which helps fund research of childhood cancer, in between the Warriors’ varsity basketball games against Harnett Central.
Twenty-two people, 17 teachers and five students, volunteered to let their heads be shaved for the cause. The school as a whole raised over $2,000 for the charity, far surpassing its goal of $1,000 and nearly matching the total raised during last year’s inaugural event.
East Wake senior Lane Adams, who organized both editions of the fundraiser, was thrilled by the fruits of his school’s generosity.
“It always blows me away,” he said, sporting a freshly-shaved and green-died haircut while holding a mega-size check for $2,042.18. “All my work is coming to an end and I’m seeing everyone else help pitch in, I’m seeing leaders step up and that all culminates into one night.
“It’s so great when you have your head shaved.”
Larry Lindsay and Mike Costantino, social studies teachers for the East Wake School of Engineering Systems, both had their heads shaved while watching warmups for the boys basketball game in front of them.
“It’s one of the few opportunities where, since we’re four (small) schools, everybody participates together,” Lindsay said. “The kids have done a great job raising money.”
Costantino wasn’t the only one in his family taking part – both of his daughters also participated by receiving short, although not bald, haircuts.
“A lot of kids seem to get some sort of passive-aggressive thrill out of watching me get my head shaved,” Costantino observed.
Adams admitted he was initially skeptical if his school could match its efforts from a year ago. A late surge in donations, led by many East Wake staff members, eventually powered the drive well past its original goal.
“Last year it was a big surprise how much the students were willing to donate, (but) this year it certainly reflects on the teachers and how much they were willing to donate,” Adams said.
While Adams will be graduating this coming spring, he and many others expressed hope that the fundraiser will continue well into the future.
“I hope it’s something that’ll keep growing because I think that’s something that’s important for our school and for our community,” Lindsay said.
By night’s end, the hair-littering tarp at the end of the gymnasium was about the only thing lost by East Wake. Both basketball teams prevailed, sending the home spectators home feeling happy, charitable and, for some, hair-free.
“I think it’s absolutely fantastic that these kids are willing to sacrifice change day after day and raise money in support of pediatric cancer research,” Costantino said. “That says a lot about the quality and the character of the kids we have here.”