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Thursday, May 4th, 2017

Counselor parts with hair to aid battle against cancer

Students shave her locks

By Tom Stankard

Celina Middle School eighth-grader Quade Gilmore, left, and hairstylist Ashley A. . .

CELINA - Celina Middle School Guidance Counselor Amy Spriggs on Wednesday afternoon bravely sat alone in the center of the school gymnasium, with students and staff members looking on, as she prepared to have her head shaved.
Spriggs, after learning principal Ann Esselstein had been diagnosed with cancer last year, announced that she would allow a select number of students to do the job.
Spriggs decided not only to support her friend and colleague but also to raise funds for the school's Mini Relay for Life, which supports the American Cancer Association.
"Going Bald for a Cure" raised $3,055. On top of that, students all year raised money for Relay for Life by working and volunteering their time to honor individuals such as Esselstein who have fought or are fighting cancer. They hosted bake sales, raffles, gum days, hat days and fun night activities.
"Our goal is to get students involved so they know they can give back to their community in some ways they may never understand," Spriggs said.
When the moment of truth arrived Wednesday afternoon, Spriggs announced which lucky kids would do the honors of handling the clippers.
"Will Ashtyn Harris (seventh grade), Grant Grieshop (seventh grade) and Quade Gilmore (eighth grade) come down to the gym to help shave my head," she said over the PA system.
Students and faculty gathered to watch as Spriggs took her seat. One by one, Harris, Grieshop and Gilmore took turns removing all the hair on their guidance counselor's head. Her personal hair stylist, Ashley Ahrens, Coldwater, finished the job.
Watching from the bleachers, superintendent Ken Schmiesing said, It's just wonderful to see staff pitching in and helping out with this situation."
"We've had a number of other staff members as well that have had situations with cancer," he added. "Certainly it makes students and staff more aware that their fundraising efforts can really have a positive impact."
A faculty member videotaped the event on Facebook Live so people at home could watch. About 100 people tuned in. Viewers commented on the video, expressing that Spriggs "is amazing."
When it was time to go back to class, several students voiced their support for Spriggs, saying she looks beautiful.
Although Esselstein couldn't be there, Spriggs said the principal "will be really excited."
"Unfortunately she couldn't be here today due in part to her treatment," she said. "I think she will be really excited to see it."
Celina Middle School's Mini-Relay for Life will be 7 a.m. Wednesday at the school.
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