LONDONDERRY — The ponytails were tied and the cutting was about to begin.
Londonderry High School hosted its 12th annual Pantene Beautiful Lengths “Day of Giving” event Dec. 21 with a large circle of students and community joining together for a massive hair-cutting event to support those battling cancer and to also celebrate other great giving efforts at the high school.
The ponytails will be shipped off to be used to make wigs for cancer patients of all ages through the American Cancer Society.
This was the finale for what has become a popular and notable effort every year at the high school, as Pantene is ending the Beautiful Lengths campaign at the end of 2018.
One hundred and seventy-six donors waiting to have their hair cut were flanked by friends and family members. Many had stories about why they were donating, including supporting friends and family members who are battling the disease.
Since the program began in Londonderry in 2007, thousands of hair donations have been sent off to support the Beautiful Lengths effort.
Londonderry High teacher and event organizer Steve Juster said the rally was to celebrate the program’s “angels” while sharing stories of survival and hope.
Students pledge to cut their hair early on in the school year, then often choose someone special like a teacher or family member to do the actual cut.
Once the countdown is given, cuts are done simultaneously.
Juster said the annual day was a way to celebrate life, hope, and all that the high school and its students are doing to support each other and the community.
"This is about the angels who have donated through the years, so selfless, and the students who support them in this decision, whether they know them personally or just with their applause," Juster said.
He added the rallies every year were team efforts, joining staff and students together to make sure all runs smoothly, from having the pep rally team write out all the labels and plan the agenda, to just making the rally a magical event for all involved.
"Together, Lancer Nation can do great things," Juster said. "I get a lot of credit on the floor, but we are truly a team, and working with them and working with the angels has truly been a blessing."
Juster said the high school "Day of Giving" will continue to honor students doing great things in school and around the community.