Hundreds of young Saanichites are baring a little more skin this week as they participated in school head shaves in support of Tour de Rock fundraisers.
For many schools, it’s the core method of fundraising to help the Cops for Cancer bike ride that ends today, with the riders passing through Saanich and Victoria.
“It’s our definitive fundraiser,” said Michael Siemens, a Grade 12 student at Lambrick Park who collected pledges to shave his head.
At Reynolds secondary, where students and staff raised $52,000 last year (the most any school has ever raised in the tour’s 14-year history), a kick-off ceremony on Sept. 26 helped launch what they call an “intensive, short campaign” so students are engaged as much as possible.
“This way there’s no fundraising fatigue. We make no apologies for going hard for two weeks,” English teacher Dean Norris-Jones said. “It’s built into the fabric of our school. We like to think the kids have a moral mandate to make the world a better place, so they act on it.”
Principal Alana Charlton said the students are taking on a greater responsibility this year, initiating and supporting countless fundraising ideas from bake sales and car washes, to dances and yesterday’s head shave, which saw 115 students and staff members get shorn.
Gord Mitchell, vice-principal at Mount Doug, says the students and staff have all been excited about the campaign, despite ongoing negotiations between the teachers’ union and the province.
“The kids are doing everything they can. In the political climate they’re in, they’re doing well, they’re trying new things and everyone’s excited about it,” he said. “(The students are) navigating the waters without making anybody upset.”
Dylan McHugh, a Grade 12 student at Reynolds, spoke during the kick-off ceremony about why fundraising for pediatric cancer research is important.
“I am living proof cancer can be beaten,” he said, proudly wearing his camouflage prosthetic right leg. He was diagnosed with cancer and lost his leg at 13 days old. “Giving up is never an option.”
The two-week Tour de Rock saw 22 riders – 19 law enforcement and three media members – cycle 1,000 kilometres from Port Alice to Victoria.
Visit saanichnews.com and check out our Oct. 12 edition to find out just how much money the schools raised.