They waited like condemned men before heading to a stool on an elevated platform in front of more than 1,200 cheering high school students Tuesday afternoon.
On the platform a technician waited with a teal cape and electric clippers. But Steve Razidlo, Brainerd High School principal, and Todd Selk, activities director, had more than 5,000 reasons to wait their turns for a public buzz cut.
Razidlo and Selk completed a deal they made when students exceeded expectations by raising $5,300.46 for the Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund. And students did it in 10 school days.
Just after 1 p.m., students and a few interested adults crowded the high school cafeteria to standing room only. Students created the reason for the public spectacle by raising money for disaster relief. They collected funds with buckets during the homecoming football game and before school and during the lunch hour. A contest pitted classes against each other with the seniors raising the most and earning an ice-cream social as a reward.
The economics club donated one day's profits from school vending machines. The drama club and student council assisted. And when Razidlo said he would have his locks buzzed if students raised $3,000 there were reports that the funds were in hand before the pep fest was over.
"It was well beyond our expectations," John Wanniger, English teacher, said. "Over half was raised in the last two days."
Waiting to be the first for the buzz cut by stylist Kari Anderson, Salon El Rio, Baxter, Selk said: "If I can give up the hair for a few weeks it's a small price to pay."
Spectators noted Selk, who already possessed a short haircut, was giving up less with the buzz cut than Razidlo. Students cheered, clapped and chanted "shorter."
"It hurts to watch," Razidlo told nearby students. "I'm looking forward to this less and less with every minute here."
He stood on the side of the platform with hands clasped over his head just before his turn. And when a short cord for the clippers caused a brief logistical problem with the cuts, an orange extension cord was quickly brought as a solution.
Once Razidlo was seated, students chanted "mohawk" and one suggested clippers be used to clip eyebrows as well. Once the buzz cut began Razidlo watched quietly as clumps of hair fell to the platform. Spectators whistled, applauded and cheered when Anderson paused for a moment and Razidlo touseled the mohawk effect before the clippers completed the buzz cut.
Assistant high school principals Michael Elsmore and Erich Heise have their own day to look forward to as homecoming king Vincent Potvin, known for his originality in outfits, will create attire for them. That day is expected at the next pep fest in early November.
Razidlo stood and applauded the students' fund-raising efforts. Wanniger told students they should be proud of themselves.
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