In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, four of the seven schools in Roxbury Township participated in this year’s St. Baldrick’s Foundation head-shaving event at Lincoln/Roosevelt and Kennedy School on March 16th.
Close to 100 students district-wide volunteered to have their heads shaved to show solidarity with those children battling pediatric cancers. Many of these students are repeat shavees.
Students also raised money for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation that assists families whose children are battling cancer.
This year’s goal for Franklin and Lincoln/Roosevelt School was $2,000. More than $12,000 has been raised so far between these two schools as of Friday bringing their collection to more than $227,000 in the eight years they’ve been participating.
Jefferson and Kennedy’s goal this year was $10,000 and as of the event yesterday afternoon, they had raised more than $11,000, bringing their total collection to more than $42,000 in just three years.
In an effort to get the students and their peers in the mood for this high-energy event, Lincoln/Roosevelt had Tom Wood once again lead the shavees into the gymnasium with a procession on the bagpipes. Their entrance was greeted with cheers and stomping from the students, staff, and family in the bleachers.
Chris Argenziano, current vice principal and newly appointed principal at Lincoln/Roosevelt, shared that this is his most favorite event each year at the school. He asked those sitting the stands to keep in mind the real purpose for being there.
"It’s to help raise money for child cancer research and we need to keep that in mind.”
Melissa Cosgrove, Jefferson School principal, who’s students were having their heads shaved at Kennedy shared her thoughts as to why it’s important for students to participate in events such as these.
“This event brings about awareness for childhood cancer and the importance in finding a cure. It also teaches a lesson in empathy for those children participating. Losing ones hair is just one side effect of chemotherapy, but it has an impact in how we recognize the challenges children and others endure living with cancer.”
Cosgrove went on to say, “We asked Kennedy School last year if we could join them in this event to honor our schoolmate Hudson who had been going through chemo at the time. Although he has since moved out of state, we keep in touch and continue to let him know we support him through his fight against cancer. He will always be a part of our Roxbury family!”
Events such as these depend on numerous volunteers not just those having their heads shaved.
“This whole thing wouldn’t be possible if not for the barbers who’ve taken the day off to come here and help,” shared Argenziano.
The volunteer barbers at Lincoln/Roosevelt were Janet Stone from Buzzwerks, Kelly McNicholoas from Atelier Salon, Cynthia Mardin from Buzzwerks, Nick Roman from Fresh Cutz, Jennifer Weintraub, Suzanne Mendonca from Via Veneto Salon, Kathy Benemerito from Dominick’s, Lisa Groschopp from Salon Déjà vu, Teresa Webb from the Spa at Randolph, Nino Cosentino from Nino’s Expression, Lisa Baud from Nino’s Expressions, and Tiffani DiGennero from Nino’s Expression.
Kennedy’s volunteer barbers were mostly from Atelier Salon and Spa. They included Millie Potter, Gloria Bloom, Ricky Pennisi, and Sheryl Denning. Kennedy cafeteria aide, Dina Corsi also volunteered her time to shave a few heads.
Jim McDermott, L/R physical education teacher and St. Baldrick’s program coordinator at the school, had the special privilege of “knighting” Kathy Benemerito as part of the Knights of the Bald Table and of St. Baldrick’s League of Legendary Heroes. Knights are made up of volunteers who’ve worked in some capacity for the foundation for seven or more years. McDermott and Stone are the only other two who had this designation at this year’s event.
McDermott also introduced special guest visitor, Colin Berg, a boy from Mt. Olive who was diagnosed with cancer shortly before his 14th birthday. In his speech, he read how much cancer sucked and how he missed his friends, missed all of seventh grade, and is finally feeling well enough to return for part of his eighth grade year. He’s even able to start doing activities that he once enjoyed like rock climbing. As he finished, he was greeted with a standing ovation from the students in the stands.
A few Roxbury employees also took part in this year’s event. Joe Pinto from the Roxbury maintenance department, McDermott, and Argenziano were the first ones to have their heads shaved at L/R.
Joey Ronchetta, fourth-grader at Kennedy School was awarded a medal for his fundraising efforts this year and Kennedy School was a presented a plaque by the foundation for their ongoing fundraising accomplishments for this event.
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