Standing inside Chocachatti Elementary School’s cafeteria, Kim Paolillo wore a button in honor of her best friend and colleague, Meghan Lupichuk. Meghan was a well-known and respected para-professional and part of the Chocachatti family who battled and lost her fight with ovarian cancer in 2012.
“This is for her,” Paolillo, a second-grade teacher at Chocachatti, said, as she watched her daughter, Hannah, climb into one of four beauty salon chairs on stage. A volunteer stylist from the salon Ca Bella measured eight inches from the bottom of Hanna’s hair and gestured to the little girl’s father to come up and assist with the first snip.
The event was part of a benefit for Children with Hair Loss, an organization that makes wigs for children who have lost their hair while battling cancer. It was organized and sponsored by one of the school’s “MicroSociety” ventures, Sassy Salon.
Sassy Salon’s teacher, Rosemarie Maiorini, helped the students create flyers that were distributed with each Chocachatti student, requesting professional stylists to volunteer and asking permission from parents for any students who wanted to donate a minimum of 8 inches of their hair.
Each who volunteered to donate their hair filled out a form, which included a place to identify who they were donating in honor of and a space for additional comments. One child wrote, “Here is hope for the future.”
Chocachatti Elementary is a magnet school of the performing arts and MicroSociety. It teaches students about real life through MicroSociety ventures like Sassy Salon. Maiorini said her class learns about basic styling, massages and nails throughout the year.
Being able to sponsor such an event that could help others was a real life lesson students embraced, Maiorini said.
As each cut was completed, the girls clutched their bags proudly. Maiorini collected them and held them up before handing them over to Children with Hair Loss.
Hannah Paplillo shook out her shorter locks and smiled as she held her bag up for her parents to see. Secured tightly to the left front of her blue uniform top was the same button her mother wore, in honor of Ms. Meghan.