PLEASANT HILL, Iowa -- Southeast Polk eighth-grade students filled their junior high auditorium Friday afternoon to watch one of their teachers trade his brown locks for a shiny bald head.
“These kids, they don’t have a choice. Their hair falls out. I have a choice,” Southeast Polk (SEP) eighth-grade American history teacher Chad Redmon said.
Redmon made a bet with his students. If they raised enough money for people battling leukemia and lymphoma, then he would shave his head.
“I’m proud of all of you for raising all this money,” Redmon said to his students. “It goes towards a great cause, Pennies for Patients.”
His one class raised $530 alone in about one week’s time. The entire junior high raised even more.
“We raised $7,500 as a school,” Redmon announced to his students before the event begun.
It left the teacher no choice but to shave all his hair in front of a full auditorium, and he even let some students join in on the fun. Two students who raised the most money got to help shave part of his head.
“The first shave was pretty funny because I was just like ‘oh no,’ but yeah, it was funny,” SEP student Lynndon Bissel said.
“It’s really neat to see the kids come together and do this for a really good cause. Not only to see me look kinda silly with my head shaved, but also they are doing it for the better,” Redmon said.
That something better hits close to home for Redmon. His younger cousin, Bella, has leukemia.
“She has so much personality and she has so much joy,” Redmon said. “Usually, you know, when you get that diagnosis with cancer, it is devastating, but she has fought and fought and fought through it.”
It's a bigger picture that the students walked away with through all the laughter and the fun.
“I thought it was really cool that our school could raise so much money because there are so many kids that have to deal with cancer, and cancer is not fun to deal with,” SEP student Lily Brindley said. “I have family members that deal with [cancer] and it sucks to go through it.”
Redmon says he is inspired by his students, seeing how much they care about others. He is also planning to show off his new hairdo at the girls state basketball championship game. Southeast Polk is taking on Valley for the title at 6 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena.