Fredonia students raise thousands by shaving heads

Some Fredonia Middle School students and teachers are going to brave the rest of winter with bare heads.

Six students and two teachers raised money to shave their heads for Bald for Bucks. The students shaved their heads during the school’s activity night Friday.

Students Jack Swanson, Maia Amatuzzo, Riley Betts, Meredith Przybycien and Ally Walton-Bald, who also donated her ponytail for Locks of Love, all participated in shaving their heads as their fellow students looked on. Middle School Principal Andrew Ludwig shaved each of the student’s hair off. Teachers Jesse Beers and Tim Wright with student Liam Huff shaved their heads earlier in the day Friday during school.

“I just wanted to say come and thank you for all the work you did. You’ve raised over $3,000 and that is awesome,” Jay Josker, senior special events coordinator for Roswell Park, said.

Prior to shaving their heads, each student spoke on why they were participating. Swanson said he is shaving his head because a hockey teammate is battling cancer, while Betts said he participated in Bald for Bucks in the past and wanted to do it again. Amatuzzo shaved her head in honor of Fredonia alumna Alice Moore who is battling cancer. Both Przybycien and Walton-Bald said they were shaving their heads in honor of family members, surviving and deceased, who have battled the disease.

“I have a lot of family members who passed away from cancer,” Przybycien said.

The event started when Walton-Bald and fellow student Kristina Jewel approached Ludwig wanting to do something for those who are battling cancer. Ludwig said the school had wanted to do something to honor an elementary special education teacher Jill Lowther, who is currently battling cancer, and the events all came together.

“This took off much bigger and much faster than I expected. Our friends in the high school have gotten on board with this … I’m overwhelmed and thrilled how much this took off,” said Ludwig. “It just speaks how great of a community we have when the teachers, students and staff come together.”

Ludwig, who said he was not courageous enough to shave his head, did match funds raised for both Beers and Wright. Proceeds from Friday night’s activity night will also go to benefit the Lowther family. The entire school district is “rallying,” according to Ludwig. The high school will host their own Bald for Bucks event in March while the elementary school will be participating in a wild hair day to raise funds.

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