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Southwestern principal rewards students with shaved head

The Southwestern Elementary School gymnasium gave Bankers Life Fieldhouse a run for its money in decibel level Friday morning.

The gym buzzed with excitement at the start of the day – and it wasn’t only because students were hours away from being dismissed for Spring Break.

The Southwestern student body congregated in the gym at the start of the day as a reward for raising money for Shelby County United Fund For You (SCUFFY) and Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.

Their reward?

Principal Josh Edwards previously agreed to shave his head in front of students and staff after Southwestern not only reached, but more than doubled, the school’s goal of raising $500. Southwestern raised $1,149.05, which will be split for SCUFFY and Riley.

“I am trying to be as enthusiastic as I can,” Edwards said shortly before heading to the gym. “I keep telling myself it’s for a great cause. They worked very hard to get the money in to help a lot of people. I keep telling myself that.”

When the time came, Edwards stepped into the kiddie pool, which was set up at mid-court, and sat down. He grinned and shook his head knowing what was to come, his fate sealed.

As Mandy Coy, a professional stylist who was on hand to help shave his head, stood by, Southwestern Curriculum and Communications Director Lindsay Chase informed students how much they raised.

The school held dollar days throughout the week to raise the money. Each day had its own theme, such as pajama day or crazy hair day.

It was also set up as a classroom competition. The class that raised the most money was given front row seats and two names from that class were drawn.

The winning class was Jere Schoettmer’s second grade class. The two students, Ollivea Fieszck and Ella Vise, took turns spray painting Edwards’ hair red, then shaving an ‘S’ in it, with Coy’s help. They then shaved his hair.

The event was organized by the student council, which approached Edwards with the idea.

“They can come up with some wild stuff to motivate kids,” he said.

He said he was silent at first, having never had his head shaved, then agreed to it knowing it was for a “wonderful cause and a wonderful community.”

When they were finished, Chase showed him a picture of what the back of his head looked like.

“It feels way different,” he said after the deed was done. “I feel way lighter. More aerodynamic. The kids were into it. That’s always funny. It’s different. I feel air on my head.”

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