Bishop England’s hair-raising event helps Locks of Love

CHARLESTON—Sometimes peer pressure can be a good thing, and that’s how it was at Bishop England High School during the Locks of Love campaign.

As students poured into the courtyard for the official hair-cutting ceremony, nervous excitement bounced among the teens as they shouted back and forth to each other.

“Are you doing it?” they called, followed quickly by: “I think you should do it!” And they did.

School officials originally expected about 15 girls to donate their hair, but as the excitement grew, so did the numbers — all the way to 77.

There was a lot of squealing and laughing, and even a few tears, but the students responded to everything with positive encouragement.

As each new group climbed onto the three stools, they gripped each other’s hands in support. Some squeezed their eyes shut, others laughed and shouted to their  classmates, who were crowded eight deep around them.

Locks of Love is a non-profit that makes wigs for people with diseases that cause hair loss.

Megan LaTorre was one of the first to have her locks cut by stylists from Salon Cappelle,
who donated their time to the cause.

Her best friend’s dad died of cancer, and giving her hair to a charity that helps people with cancer is the least she can do, Megan said.

Katie Corbett is that friend. She and her younger sister Emily also took a turn on the cutting chairs, although Katie said she hadn’t planned to do it.

“I wanted to wait ’til it was longer, but seeing everybody else and feeling their support, I wanted to be part of it,” she said, wiping tears away.

Emily was part of the campaign from the beginning. Not only was she remembering her dad, she also wanted to honor her book buddy from Blessed Sacrament, who also died of cancer.

Christine Ronco, who organized the event, said she was surprised by the big turnout because the girls love their hair so much.

Some of the teachers laughed good-naturedly at the students as they moaned about the new, short cut.

“It’s still long,” Mary Nemeth said with a chuckle. “Even with all that cut off, they still have long hair.”

Besides, it’ll grow back. And when it does, many of the students said they’ll cut it off for love again.