TJ Faculty Abuzz-ed After Students Raise $17K for American Heart Association [Photos]
Thomas Jefferson Middle School students raised over $17,000 for heart health through the school's Hoops for Heart campaign, organized by the health and physical education faculty members.
In front of a raucous student body amped up by the stylings of student DJ Daniel Bor, three Thomas Jefferson Middle School faculty members had their heads shaved to conclude Friday's Hoops for Heart festivities which raised money for heart disease and stroke research.
Vice prinicipal Dominick Tarquinio, music teacher Scott Avidon and math teacher Matthew Cecconi agreed to shave their heads if TJ students, who had already smashed their $10,000 fundraising goal, could raise an additional $3,000 this week to reach a grand total of $16,000. The students were up to the challenge, finishing Friday with a whopping $17,320 that'll go to the American Heart Association.
"Whenever there's a need in the community our kids come forward," Tarquinio said. "Some of these kids really went out of their way of contacting friends and relatives [for donations], so we're very proud."
The school's health and physical education staff of Michele Coriale, Tori Howe, Mike Shansky, Shane DeLucca, John VanSoest and Kaitlin Guy, along with Tarquinio and Principal Sherrie Galofaro, dressed in red and/or dyed their hair red for the occasion.
The excitement was palpable throughout the day as students and faculty danced, cheered and sang to the pounding pop hits that young DJ DMB, as Bor calls himself, cued up.
"I haven't seen this much energy in an assembly program in quite a bit," said Tarquinio, who wore a red wig and enormous pink glasses for much of the day.
Students, separated by grade level, spent two class periods rotating through a series of basketball contests, skill games and a five-on-five tournament. Following the day's final tournament, students packed into the auditorium to see Tarquinio, Avidon and Cecconi get their locks lopped off.
Sixth-grader Christopher Piccininni was given the honor of performing the first buzzcut.
"I selected Christopher because he had a heart transplant when he was much younger," Tarquinio explained. "He was really appreciative of the fact that people care and we've done so much to help the American Heart Association."
While one of the top student fundraisers shaved Avidon's head, the soon-to-be-bald music teacher recalled what his 4-year-old son told him upon learning dad would be losing all his hair.
"He said, 'I think you should skip that appointment,'" Avidon laughed.
TJ plans to turn Hoops for Heart into an annual event.