Amid a flurry of stomps and cheers from students and one escape run from police, teacher Ryan Hanley gave up his Operation Sasquatch persona Friday.
Hanley had his long hair and beard cut in an assembly held at the Lakecity Secondary Columneetza campus Friday after the junior secondary students won his Cops for Cancer fundraising challenge.
“The assembly was a hairy good time,” said student Kristian Volkmann.
Brennen William added: “I liked the part where the cops chased Mr. Hanley.”
Hairdresser, Pat Mitchell, bundled Hanley’s long locks into numerous ponytails and helped students in the class that raised the most money to cut and save the ponytails that will be fashioned into a wig for a cancer patient.
RCMP Cst. Colby Hendrickson and Cst. Daniel Cohen were there to supervise, take their turn at cutting one of the ponytails and join the merriment.
When his hair was all carefully cut, Hanley yelled that no one was going to take his beard and sprinted out of the gymnasium hotly pursued by the two RCMP officers, who hauled him back into the gymnasium where they handcuffed him to the chair to have his long beard cut off.
After the ceremony at Columneetza Hanley headed over to the Williams Lake campus for a school assembly where grades 11/12 English teacher Loyd Csizmadia finished off shaving Hanley’s head and beard.
“It is pretty clear that I trust Mr. Csizmadia with my life,” Hanley said as Csizmadia moved in with the razor to shave his neck.
Hanley was inspired to grow his own hair two years ago, after seeing Csizmadia grow and have his hair cut in a cancer fundraising challenge.
Hanley says his original goal was to raise $2,500 between the two LCSS campuses but he says the students have collectively raised more than $3,000 for the cause.
In the challenge the hair cutting ceremony was to take place at the campus that raised the most money, but Hanley wouldn’t say exactly how much each campus raised because the goal couldn’t have been reached without the efforts of students at both campuses.
He says 13 classes raised more than $3 per person.
Students in the Grade 7 class taught by Mrs. Brandi Vath and Mr. David Lucas raised $12.49 per person including running a bake sale. Students in this class were given the honour of sharing in the cutting of Hanley’s hair.
“It feels good to achieve and exceed our goal,” says Hanley, the grade 8-9 English, social studies, year book and leadership teacher at the Columneetza campus.
Hanley’s wife Jennifer Mitchell was in the audience at the Columneetza ceremony with their son Blake, 6, sporting a shoulder length bob after having her own waist-length hair cut earlier to be made into a wig for a cancer patient.
Both school assemblies included a short film of Hanley dancing like a sasquatch might dance, with his hair flying, and a more serious short film about a little girl fighting cancer and the work of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Hanley said 80 per cent of the funds raised will go to pediatric research and 20 per cent will go to a camp for children who are taking cancer treatment.
“I think it is awesome that the schools can get involved and help out,” said Justin Hansen, the Grade 12 student who acted as master of ceremonies for the Williams Lake campus event. My grandmother had cancer and overcame it. I am sure that everyone knows someone who has had cancer.”
Donations can also be made for the next few weeks in Hanley’s name at the Canadian Cancer Society B.C. Branch site http://bit.ly/ryanhanleyhaircut.