Mile High Academy’s principal, Andrew Carpenter, had a crazy idea when planning upcoming school events. What if he shaved his head once the students raised a specific dollar amount? After hearing the idea, Jocelyn Aalborg, MHA’s vice principal of finance and development, decided to make it the main reward for the 2022 Walk-A-Thon. During each of the last three Walk-A-Thons, MHA brought in roughly $25,000. This money went to the Worthy Student Fund, a program that makes it possible for students who can’t afford MHA to pursue private education.

With the principal’s hair on the line, MHA needed to go big! So, Carpenter and Aalborg doubled the amount, making the threshold $50,000 for Carpenter’s hair. Thinking the goal was too far-reaching, they wanted to add a reward for incremental fundraising. So, they asked athletic director, Coach Michael Camacho, if he would be willing to shave his head when MHA reached the threshold of $35,000. He agreed, and the plan moved forward.

Jocelyn Aalborg remarked that her favorite part of Walk-A-Thon was getting kids involved in raising money for MHA. She felt that the event empowered kids to reach out to friends and family for donations.

Emalee, a freshman, said, “At first, I was upset that Coach Camacho would shave his head, but I am happy that he did it for such a good cause.”

Another student commented, “Just saying that you will shave your head if you reach monetary goals is cool, but the crazy part is we achieved these goals, and both our coach and principal shaved their heads.”

If every student raised $220, they would reach the $50,000 goal, and several students—and teachers—took it as a challenge. Contributions started rolling in, and while there were donations of significant size, Aalborg still did not believe the $35,000 goal would be reached.

Walk-A-Thon took place on Sept. 30, and donations were left open for one week past the event. By Oct. 7, the event had brought in $43,000, surpassing the first goal. Administration decided to keep donations open for a few more days and pushed the students to raise $7,000 more so they could shave both Camacho and Carpenter’s heads. On Oct. 12, MHA officially hit its goal of $50,000 and, as promised, the school prepared to shave both heads.

On Oct. 18 an all-school chapel was held in the gym. The chapel, which was live streamed, started strong with music from history teacher and high school chaplain Rebecca Berg. Afterward, Carpenter thanked the students for making this happen.
Though still nervous about shaving his head, Carpenter knew it was for a good cause and was genuinely passionate about it.

As Coach Camacho went up to the front to shave his head, students started chanting, “Shave their heads! Shave their heads!” excited to see the anticipated event finally unfold. Christina Herrera, a professional hair stylist and MHA parent, was invited to perform the honors. As Herrera began shaving Camacho’s head, the students went wild. After a few minutes, it was time for Carpenter to get shaved. The students started cheering and chanting again.

The unique event was both fun and memorable for students and faculty. It will be interesting to see what other new challenges the school has next year!

Adelaide Eno, Asher LeVos and Eeheon Ryu are Mile High Academy journalism students.