Stone Creek student Jensen Rawlings walks the talk at school virtues assembly
During a Stone Creek Charter School assembly held last week to celebrate virtues, sixth grader Jensen Rawlings provided a living example of a number of those traits.
Generosity, for one. Courage, determination and patience were also in the mix. And all of this came off the top of his head. Literally.
For almost two years now, Jensen has been growing his hair with the intention of donating it to a group called Children with Hair Loss. The group provides wigs, free of charge, for children who have lost their hair due to cancer treatments or other ailments. Donated locks must be at least 8 inches long, so it took Jensen a few months to grow enough hair to make his donation. As a result, finally getting to the point where he could cut off his mane became something of an occasion. With the support of Stone Creek, it also became an opportunity for education and philanthropy.
Fill the box, get the scissors
Once a quarter, the entire Stone Creek student body gathers to celebrate a virtues and character development assembly. Knowing that the final gathering for the school year was approaching Jensen’s mom, Heather Rawlings, contacted headmaster John Brendza to see if Jensen’s haircut could be worked into the assembly program. Eventually, the idea was born to create some extra buzz about Jensen’s buzz.
Heather placed a huge empty box in the school lobby with a challenge printed on the side — “If you fill this box to the top, Jensen’s hair he will chop.” Students were urged to bring in canned food and other non-perishables for donations to the Salvation Army food bank. The items started coming in and then the challenge got an added boost.
Stone Creek Charter parent Korey Somogi had already volunteered to do the haircutting honors for Jensen, but she promised that if the box was filled to overflowing, she would let Jensen cut her hair once she finished with his.
“I don’t know many 40-something women who are willing to let a 12-year-old lop off their hair,” said Heather. “It was amazing. There was food stacked all over the lobby.”
On Wednesday, Jensen’s haircut was the final act of the assembly program.
It wasn’t the first time that Jensen cut his hair off for charity.
Heather noted that when Jensen was just 3 years old, he became friends with another child who had lost his hair because of chemotherapy treatments. “That just sort of stuck with him,” she said. A few years back, Jensen participated in the Saint Baldrick’s event and for his 11th birthday, he had six inches of hair lopped off for Locks for Love. But last week’s school assembly provided his largest haircut audience.
“I was pretty cool because everyone was really excited about it,” he said.
Jensen’s hair came off pretty easily. It was a bit more difficult for him to turn the scissors on Korey. Anticipating the trim, Korey had placed her hair in a number of braids, but it still wasn’t easy for Jensen to wield the scissors.
“I was trying to cut it but I didn’t have very good leverage,” he said. Eventually his mom picked him up so he had a better position towering over Korey.
With his hair now eight inches shorter, Jensen said he is ready to hit the summer and ready to get growing again.
“I do like having long hair,” he said. “But the worst part of it is the maintenance. You have to brush it every day and wash it all the time,” he said.
While his parents are proud of his commitment to grow his hair for donation, they aren’t really sorry to see it go as the summer months loom ahead.
“He loves his long hair but once it get to a certain point, we (the Rawlings family) are all ready for him to cut it,” said Heather.
Staff writer Pam Boyd can be reached at 970-328-6656, ext. 4