By Joseph Zapata
This year, it was Walt Whitman High School Principal Kathleen Acker’s turn to take a seat in the barber’s chair for a particularly close shave.
As Walt Whitman High School took part in its eighth annual St. Baldrick’s event, Acker was one of many who volunteered her head to be shaven for the cause.
“[St. Baldrick’s] really brings our community together,” Acker said. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to give publicity to [childhood cancer] and bring it to the public’s notice that it is an underfunded cancer.”
St. Baldrick’s, an organization whose roots can be found in Northport, aims to raise money and awareness in the fight against childhood cancers. Each year, volunteers shave their heads as a symbolic gesture to the millions cancer patients who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatment, and gather pledges from supporters.
On Wednesday, the cafeteria was packed with students and teachers, excited to see their principal donate to the event.
“She’s incredible in the way she has enough courage to be able to participate in an event like this,” said Walt Whitman junior Emma Kongevold. “[She] is like a mom to each and every student. She always knows every student by name. She’s just incredible.”
Walt Whitman incorporated a competition between grades on who can raise the most amount of money. This year’s winning class raised the most donations in the school’s history, collecting over $10,000. The class president of the winning grade was given the privilege of shaving Acker’s head.
“It’s getting cold in here,” Acker shouted jokingly, laughing and smiling as the razor went across her head.
For the past eight years, science teacher Jamie Roger has organized St. Baldricks at Walt Whitman. Over that time, the school has raised a total of $100,000 for the cause.
“It’s so exciting to see everybody come together for this great cause,” Acker said. “It just warms my heart.”
And hopefully, her newly-shorn head.