PENINSULA: Winter is no time to lose a head of hair, unless it’s for a good cause.

Seven long-haired staff members at Woodridge Intermediate School, and two of their daughters from Tallmadge and Hudson schools, left school Wednesday with their tresses 8 inches shorter.

The locks were removed during a school assembly and will be used to make wigs for cancer patients.

While Woodridge staff and teachers have been asking students to perform “random acts of kindness” throughout November, they wanted to drive the message home on the day before Thanksgiving.

“We wanted to teach them generosity, caring, giving and kindness. We wanted to show them,” said Ashley Jurkowski, a guidance counselor at Woodridge who forfeited her long blond hair for the cause.

The donations were made in honor of Codey Montecalvo, a former Woodridge student who has been diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy this month.

To support the seventh-grader, who now attends Miller South in Akron, and his family as they endure chemotherapy, Woodridge Intermediate School launched “Team Codey” this year, raising money through T-shirt and bracelet sales and sponsoring a Relay for Life team.

Other schools, including Hudson, have joined the effort.

The Montecalvo family keep the community apprised of Codey’s health by posting updates at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/codey-is-one-of-our-own-/88929/, a website where donations can be made.

“It hits home,” said Jurkowski, who taught Montecalvo in the third grade.

For some, it was more personal.

“I’ve known them forever,” said Bonnie Luker, a fifth-grade teacher at Woodridge who had Codey’s mother as a teacher. “It’s much more personal.”

Luker has been growing her hair out for a year and a half, ever since she came up with the idea to donate it. After finding out about the Montecalvo family’s struggle, Luker said it was fitting to help her former student while teaching current third-, fourth- and fifth-graders that there is always something other than money to give.

The message resonated with Calee Fox, a fourth-grader at Woodridge who helps her grandmother knit hats. She talked about people she knows who have lost their hair during chemotherapy. She knows some who have grown their hair back.

Fox said the hats her grandmother makes are donated to cancer patients “so people won’t make fun of them.”

When asked why anyone would make fun of that sort of thing, the little girl said innocently, “I don’t know.”

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or dlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com.