By Julie Huss
---- — DERRY — Hats and hair took top honors last week as West Running Brook Middle School honored its heroes.
Students and staff last week wore hats to honor one of their own. They also celebrated successes on recent New England Common Assessment Program testing scores.
Hats were worn to honor West Running Brook seventh-grader Alanna Marcotte, who is going through her third round of cancer treatments.
Teachers and other staff members agreed to shave their heads if enough money was raised to support the Marcotte family and the school’s “Bald Is Beautiful” campaign.
“Alanna is bald and beautiful now, but she’s always been beautiful,” West Running Brook social studies teacher Audrey Allen said. “We heard about Alanna; we are trying to get donations, but I wanted to do something bigger.”
Allen’s quest to help will make her bald and beautiful as well. If $5,000 is raised, Allen will shave her head to honor Alanna.
“And when I say shave, I mean all of it,” a long-haired Allen told students.
She won’t be alone.
Other teachers and staff members agreed to cut their hair if the money is raised.
The school already has about $3,047 raised toward its goal. If the total goes higher, more hair will be cut.
Principal Leslie Saucier will shave her head if the total reaches $10,000. Others jumping on board include assistant principals Lorrie Belinsky and Justin Krieger.
“It’s my anniversary month, so we’ll see how that’s going to work out,” Saucier said. “For $10,000, I’ll do it.”
It’s a total school commitment to help Alanna.
The school’s Kids Care Club will donate $500. Bracelets to support Alanna and her family are being sold and worn by students.
School district superintendent Laura Nelson said although she would not shave her head, she would donate $100.
The school will raise money for several months before final tallies and hair-cutting begins.
“We’ll do this for a couple of months and then we’ll get together and have a huge shave-off,” Allen said.
This is the third time Alanna has faced cancer. The family hopes to take her to Texas or Tennessee for further treatments.
“She’s having a hard time right now,” Saucier said. “We need to pull ourselves together (and help) the family.”
Other events supporting the Marcotte family include an Easter Bunny benefit at West Running Brook on March 23 and a penny raffle.
A benefit also is planned Feb. 10 at the Tuckaway Tavern in Raymond from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Alanna’s progress is documented daily on her Facebook page, “The Brave Little Soul Alanna Marcotte.”
Students at South Range Elementary School wore hats to honor their classmate.
In addition to celebrating Alanna, some students earned hero honors for perfect NECAP scores. Those recognized included Cole Busby, Shea Flanders, Hannah Holland, Olivia Corliss, Ariana Fowler, Sara Perkins, Patrick Linehan and Mariah Mansur.