Ronnow Elementary Principal Michelee Crawford and first-grade teacher Jessica Hopson struggled to hold back tears on Friday at the school’s harvest festival, just as Crawford chopped off 9 inches of her long, black hair.
The haircut was the latest show of solidarity for Hopson, who was diagnosed with breast cancer this school year.
Crawford started a GoFundMe page in September, promising that she would cut one inch of her hair for every $1,000 raised. Though the total was nearly $5,000 as of Friday afternoon, she chopped off more in order to be able to donate it to an organization that gives wigs to children with cancer.
Hopson has experienced an outpouring of support from what she calls her school family. Students — who frequently run up to hug her — have peppered her classroom door with sticky notes of support. Fellow teachers have shaved their heads. And on Tuesdays, those at the school, 1100 Lena St., wear purple shirts that read “Team Hopson.”
“Every day I just am embraced by positivity and strength,” she said. “And so when I find myself in my darkest moments, I can’t be more than an hour before someone’s reaching out, encouraging me.”
The GoFundMe is still accepting donations; if it reaches $20,000, Crawford may shave her whole head as initially promised.