In what has become a South Lakes tradition, the school's student body once again raised a large amount of money to help someone in need. The Seahawks raised more than $20,000 for a fellow student, a 10th grader, who is battling brain cancer.
"It reflects Reston," said South Lakes principal Bruce Butler about the students' fund-raising efforts this year and in the years past. He said there is a sense of social activism in Reston, and South Lakes students respond to that. "Community service and giving to others is a big part of our school," said Butler.
Raising more than $20,000 in the "Fight for a Seahawk" campaign to help a fellow student follows two years of fund-raising for other causes. In 2005 the students at South Lakes raised money for the victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, and in 2006 they raised funds for those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. This year, according to Butler, the students chose to stay local and help a fellow student, a sophomore at South Lakes, who is diagnosed with brain cancer. Butler said the student's family is delighted and touched with the efforts of the student body. The family needed the money because it does not have sufficient funds to pay for the expensive chemotherapy sessions. Butler added that the student has returned to school after the winter break, and is doing well.
THERE WAS, HOWEVER, an incentive for the students to reach the $20,000 mark. The student government sponsor Lindsay Trout pledged she would cut her hair into a mohawk if $20,000 were raised. When the students upheld their end of the bargain, Trout — also a leadership teacher and an assistant director of student activities — made good on her end of the deal. On Thursday Trout got one of the most memorable haircuts in the history of South Lakes and Reston. In front of a gym packed with South Lakes students from all grades, staff and faculty, the mascot and multiple media outlets, Trout got what she asked for.
The Seahawks in attendance gave Trout a standing ovation as she walked into the gym, escorted by the South Lakes mascot. President of Student Government, James Parnham, was the first to take the clippers to Trout's head.
"She's an incredible woman. Her [following through on the promise] is an inspiration to the rest of us," said Parnham.
A group of freshmen that participated in the fund-raiser said they were inspired by the experience and proud to be a part of the South Lakes community. "We have a lot of school pride," said Hannah Elmer.
Her friend Stefanie Brown said Trout was brave to get the haircut in front of so many people, adding: "It makes me proud to be a Seahawk."
After it was all said and done, and Trout was left with much less hair on her head than she had at the beginning of the school day, she had a message for the students. "This is all about what you guys accomplished," she said, adding that she hoped the students learned something from the experience.
Trout said she did not regret making the deal with the students. She said she was amazed with their ability to raise money. "They solicited and mobilized an entire community. When an entire community comes together, extraordinary things happen," she said. Trout added she went to South Lakes and came through the same leadership program she teaches today. She said the program's main objective is mission of service to the community.