Eighth grader sacrifices his hair for fellow student
It’s not every day an assembly of middle school students is gathered together to watch one of their own get a haircut, but on June 11 that is exactly what happened.
All eyes were fixed on the auditorium stage as math teacher Wendy Madouse took clippers in hand and began the process of shearing Zachary Leith’s long tresses.
“Now I know what Mrs. Madouse will do for her next career,” joked physical education teacher Joe Webster.
According to Madouse, the eighth grader has been secretly growing his hair all year long, with the intention of donating it to “Wigs for Kids.”
It was last year Madouse first challenged Leith to cut his tresses for the good cause and to honor fellow student, Wyatt Newhard.
“After the November Walk for Wyatt, I asked Zach, ‘Would you like to cut your hair in December?’ and he said ‘No, let me grow it longer.”
Newhard, 13, has been battling cancer since he was 3.
In May of last year, his cancer returned for a fourth time.
The middle school has been one of his biggest supporters, referring to him as “our local Weisenberg Township warrior.”
“Were going to do one big chant,” Webster said. “Stand up in your seats and on three, we are team Wyatt!”
Everyone in the auditorium expressed their feelings with enthusiasm.
It’s been over a year since Leith has had his last haircut.
“She challenged me to do it and I’m a man of my word,” Leith said.
“He’s the only one I really asked,” Madouse said. “He’s like a ’70s throwback and he’s a great kid, so I knew he would do it.”
“This is my thing,” Leith said, touching his hair before succumbing to the razor. “All I could say is somebody is going to get a pretty nice wig.”
Leith vows to grow his hair again.
“Yeah. I feel it fits me,” Leith said, who not too surprising, is a drummer.
As such, Leith is familiar with the Beatles’ famous drummer, Ringo Starr.
“I wish I could have hair like that,” he said.
Newhard, who was sitting in the audience through the haircut, was scheduled to leave for CHOP for another treatment at the end of the assembly program.
“I’m just excited to be part of the school community and wish good luck to Wyatt,” Leith said.
The end of the year assembly has become tradition, where student excellence in various arenas is acknowledged in front of the entire school.