Photo by The Winchester Star
Shaving your head for childhood cancer research takes guts. Shaving in an auditorium full of high school students you teach every day? Well, that’s gutsy and might just break every “school norm.”
Melinda Walters, biology teacher at Millbrook High School in Virginia, did just that. It was a day full of tears, excitement, questions and open minds.
Melinda and her students recount their St. Baldrick’s experience:
As the event got closer I became more and more excited. I was about to dare society to see me in a new light. I was about to show my students and my faculty the commitment I have to finding a cure for childhood cancers. I was about to make a difference, a big one.
“Watching people shave their heads gave me chills, I cried. It is truly inspiring and I’d love to do it someday.” – Haley
I know, I know, I am a teacher – I make a difference in the lives of students every day (or at least I hope to). This event was different.
“Wish I was as brave as you.” – Nyjalaya
I hear the word “brave” quite often when people comment on my hair, or lack thereof. I didn’t feel brave. I felt honored to be able to stand up for children fighting cancer. But now I understand what brave means from my students – they appreciate the daring act to rebel against society standards.
“You… you look… gorgeous.” – Kaitlyn
Students realized that hair is not a necessity, but a luxury. One of our 16-year-old female students shaved with me – talk about bravery.
“I can’t explain how proud that head-shaving made me.” – Richard
I am always proud of them, but that day the tables turned. They were proud of me and of my fellow shavees. They got to congratulate me just as I do when they make a good grade or rise to a higher standard. I am honored to have shown my students what pride for others feels like.
“That showed me that you have heart and courage. You may think that it was a small thing, but really you did something big, for a whole lot of people.” – Geo
We have inspired. The shavees showed the student body that they can do BIG things, be big things and surround themselves with others who are making a positive difference in their community. Amazing.
“I have the utmost respect for people who help other people. You don’t find too many like you.” – Destinie
Hope. I feel that we instilled a sense of HOPE for humanity. Students witnessed that a small act of kindness can go a long way. They were made aware that good people do exist in this world and that they are not hard to find.
“It was an awe-striking experience.” – Nino
This experience continues to be an amazing one. I love that we raised money for childhood cancer research. I love the inspiration we instilled on the day of the event. But most of all, I love the awareness. My head continues to be a walking billboard for childhood cancer awareness. I love the stares, the questions, the comments, the answers, the conversations about a disease so ugly that I would like to banish its face in the sand forever.
“When I get older I would love to find a cure for cancer.” – Danielle
To Danielle, I simply said… DO IT!
Get your school involved in the fight against childhood cancers – start an event or email Events@StBaldricks.org!