Rennie’s River Elementary in St. John’s, NL held its first Shave for the Brave on March 16, 2017, and it was one they — and YACC HQ — won’t soon forget!
Co-Head Hunter Mme. Lisa Browne Peters says Rennie’s River Elementary decided it was time to Shave because the school recognizes the value of the support network Young Adult Cancer Canada (YACC) provides to young adults who are living with cancer.
“This is my first year teaching at Rennie’s River Elementary and I felt certain that the community here would embrace the idea of holding a Shave for the Brave. I discussed the opportunity with our school administrators (Principal Allison Chafe and Assistant Principal Lorna Walters), and they were extremely receptive to holding the event. I then presented the idea to our school council and unanimous, enthusiastic consent was given,” she said.
Ms. Walters spearheaded Shaves for the Brave at other schools and wanted to help the students at Rennie’s River Elementary understand the importance and relevance of the activity. Mme. Brown Peters says Ms. Walters made regular announcements on the P.A. in the mornings, and visited every classroom to teach students a little about the work of YACC.
“This provided the opportunity for teachers to chat further with their students about the challenges that people with cancer face and the value of the organization’s work. Children possess an innate desire to help others, so it was very powerful to discuss how we could come together as a school community to make a difference to people whose lives have been affected by cancer,” she said.
The event started off on a great note when students Grace and Emma, and friend of the school Cassandra, took the stage in the empty gym to prep their ponytails. We got to chat a little about how they felt and why they signed up on a level we don’t always get at a rowdy School Shave.
Then the audience started to arrive, and we knew we were in for a treat. Nearly everyone from the first group came in with a handmade sign to pump up their Shaver classmates. They weren’t the only ones, and the gym quickly rivaled the scene at a One Direction concert! Little did we know, that was only a sneak peek!
After a quick intro, the Shavers-to-be lined up on the side of the stage. The majority were first-time Shavers, and they were excited to take a seat in front of one of our five volunteer hairstylists for the most powerful haircuts they’ve ever had!
An extra shot of energy came near the end as Mr. Sharpe took a seat. Up until then, the students had politely cheered from their seats, but once Mr. Sharpe sat down, they rushed the stage and created a multi-minute mini mosh pit, shouting “Mr. Sharpe! Mr. Sharpe!” (Click here for a snippet!). It was unlike anything we’ve seen for a long time. The phys. ed. teacher told his girls’ basketball team he would Shave for the Brave if they helped him raise over $500; for $750, they could control the clippers! They nailed it, and did a great job on his hair to boot!
“The Rennie’s River Elementary community is very caring and supportive. There is a wonderful sense of inclusiveness at our school and people enjoy coming together to work towards common goals. We were delighted to see the enthusiasm and commitment displayed by the students, staff, and parents. Raising almost $6,500 at our first ever Shave event was absolutely incredible,” Mme. Browne Peters said. “I think every child came away from the event with a much deeper understanding of how important it is to come together and lend support.”
Thank you to the Shavers, their parents, and their supporters for making this event such a great success, and to Ms. Walters, Ms. Chafe, and Mme. Browne Peters for inviting Shave for the Brave into Rennie’s River Elementary!
We also have to say big thank yous to hair stylists Cassi, Kelsey, Kalyn, Bryanna, and Michelle who volunteered their time to do the shaving!
We look forward to seeing you all again next year!