— Photos by Lynandro Simmons/Hearst Connecticut Media
More than 50 students and adults shaved their heads in Wilton High School’s cafeteria for the 11th annual St. Baldrick’s event on Tuesday, March 12.
The proceeds from the event go to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation in raising awareness and funds to fight pediatric cancer. For the first year, the event was also sponsored by Dynamic Edge Physiotherapy in Wilton.
Before the night had ended this year’s group met it’s $20,000 fundraising goal with three students individually raising $1,000 apiece.
Five local barbers did the head-shaving again this year:
- Agron and Kreshnik Komini and Dawn Pazar, of Agron’s Barbershop.
- Gerald Ventrella, of Branchville Hair Design.
- Getano Monteleone, of Arena Hair Styling.
The fundraiser has been organized each year by a student committee and supported by Wilton High guidance counselor Daniel Pompa. Pompa said over the years one thing has remained consistent — his joy working with the kids.
“It’s just so great to see the kids get involved and be excited about it,” he said.
Over the years he’s seen many students return and become involved with the annual event.
“It’s a camaraderie in the group,” Pompa said. “I’ve seen kids go from sweepers to actually becoming leaders. They want to help in any way.”
Senior August Theoharides has shaved his head for the past four years. For Theoharides he had a personal motivation for working and participating in the event.
“When I was in middle school, my little sister was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma and has now been cancer free for five years,” Theoharides said.
Wilton High freshman and ski team member Eli Ackerman participated in the event for the first time this year. He said he first heard mention of the annual event from a fellow teammate. Despite this being his first time he said he was excited for the makeover.
“I play lacrosse in the spring so at least my hair won’t get in the way,” Ackerman said.
Jubair Huq, a Wilton High junior, participated for his third year.
“When my sister was in high school she volunteered,” Huq said. “So I decided to do this when I got to high school as well.”
This year three women also participated with Wilton High senior Jasmine Whitaker participating for the third time. Cassie Foley and Ella Kalso, both juniors, participated for the first time this year. Foley said she was excited for the new look. She added the event represented a cause that was important to her.
“My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer and my grandmother passed from cancer, so it has personally affected me as well,” Foley said.