by KELLEY GUSICH

Kindness for a Cause

Introduced to the Oak Valley Middle School (OVMS) campus by eighth grade social studies teacher Jon Comerford, The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is a volunteer and donor-powered charity for childhood cancer. The foundation is committed to supporting the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers, and students and teachers at Oak Valley shave their heads every year to raise funds and support the cause.

Emma Hong, eighth grader and St. Baldrick’s Committee Chair, said, “My favorite part of this was knowing that there are people on our campus – kids – who are brave enough to shave their heads in front of 1,500 of their peers to help make a difference. I started tearing up when their hair was coming off and it was so powerful!” She made sure the event was advertised and explained throughout campus, arranging and distributing a slide show highlighting the charity, how funds were used, and including personal stories of childhood cancer survivors.

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Eighth grader and ASB Vice President Kyle Stephenson participated for the third year in a row. Leading the committee for the past two, he’s created a script for the goals and presentations for all the classrooms, traveling the campus to help get everyone aware of and passionate about the cause. “My own step-brother stepped up this year and joined me in shaving his head because he saw my commitment and it inspired him. I love the idea of supporting little kids who are in need, and when we stand up on stage with bald heads, it reminds me that we have the choice to shave our heads, but there are so many kids who really do not have this choice,” Kyle shared. “They are heroes.”

Jeslyn Tran is a sixth grader and new to OVMS this year. As the ASB Philanthropy and Community Outreach Chair, she tries to organize the ASB in their fundraising efforts. “I love how we reach out to help kids with cancer, and am so impressed with how many of our students donated directly to this cause,” she affirmed. “It really brought a lot of awareness to the sixth graders, and we all talk about how kind everyone was and what a good school this is.”

The school participates in a fundraising drive every year, culminating in the head shaving event. Stylists from Sports Clips 4S Ranch volunteered to do the shaving.