With a snip the scissors and a swish of a ponytail, some members of the South County Drama Department proved their dedication to their art.
More than half a dozen girls, many of whom are members of the upcoming musical production of "Thoroughly Modern Millie," cut off their hair on Saturday, April 14 to be donated to Locks of Love. The national organization collects donations of hair at least 10 inches long to be made into wigs for children and adults who have lost or cannot grow their own hair.
"When Miss AJ [teacher Sherry Adams Johnson] told us we were doing this show last spring, she said the girls would have to cut their hair or pay for their wigs," said sophomore Samantha Franklin, who organized the hair cutting festivities. "I thought it would be great publicity for the show to cut our hair and donate it to Locks of Love."
Samantha, who grew out her dark blond hair for the donation, said she was eager to cut her hair for a second time for the organization. She was also ready to get rid of the drawer of five pony tails she had at home, donations given to her from other students and teachers eager to help.
"I'm very nervous to cut my hair again," she said the day before the big cut, playing with her long pigtails. "It's going to be really short but it's for a good cause."
MOST OF THE GIRLS who decided to cut their hair will still have to have their bobbed styles curled or pinned back for the play, Adams Johnson said.
"There are 36 girls in the cast of 50, and I think 14 of the girls bought wigs," she said. Some of the other girls had hair short enough already and didn't have to cut their hair for the play, set in the 1920s and featuring short, pageboy hair-dos.
Quite a few of the girls donating their hair, including Samantha, had donated their hair to Locks of Love before, Adams Johnson said.
"If you've ever known a kid who needed [a wig], it means so much more" to make the donation, she said.
Adams Johnson said she was proud of her students for their small sacrifice.
"We've got fantastic kids here, they're smart, funny, creative and good in school," she said.
Senior Colleen Ireland, who plays Ethel Peas in the play, decided to grow her blond hair out last June for the play and was eager to change her look.
"I don't mind doing this at all, I've done it before," she said, hair pulled back into a floppy ponytail.
Colleen planned to cut 11 inches of hair to donate, leaving her with a bob that ended at the bottom of her lower lip.
"It's really exciting" to make this sort of physical change for a role, she said. "This is the first year the rights for this play have been available to schools and it's our Cappies show. You always try to make the show as authentic as possible because that's what the judges look for."
Colleen said she cut her hair for Locks of Love when she was in seventh grade.
"I'm looking forward to the change, you know, getting ready to go to college and all," she said. Colleen is going to William and Mary in the fall and hopes to do some extra curricular theater during college.
For her, the biggest reason to cut her hair was the opportunity to give back.
"People have given so much to this school, between the Lorton Arts Foundation and all our teachers, I think it's time the students start giving back too," she said.
Colleen and Samantha agreed they were excited to donate their hair as part of getting ready for the play.
"How many times can you say you cut your hair and donated it for a show," Samantha said. "I think it's a really good idea. There's been a lot of support from the teachers."
Some of her male cast members were skeptical the girls would actually cut their hair for the play. With a pair of hairdressers lined up to cut hair during an all-day rehearsal on Saturday, Samantha was ready for their questions.
"When they come in and we're bald, they'll believe us," she said.
South County principal Dale Rumberger said he was proud of his students' dedication to helping Locks of Love.
"When taking lead roles, there are certain things you can do to modify the way you dress," he said. The girls who cut their hair were behaving in a way similar to athletes who are not allowed to wear jewelry during events, he said.
"These girls took their roles very seriously, they really stepped up," he said.