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Shaved heads can change the world

A good teacher would merely encourage her students to do a project they were passionate about, but a great teacher would get involved and keep a promise — even if it meant a closely shorn head.

King’s Fork High School English teacher Lori Starling recently became an integral part of her students’ campaign against childhood cancer when she lived up to her end of the bargain if they raised $500 by their last day before spring break.

The students did it, and Starling got her head shaved during the students’ spring fling event on Friday.

It all started with a non-fiction assignment where Starling’s students read about Collin Sather, a University of Idaho football player who died on Feb. 26 after having been diagnosed with advanced renal cancer. He was 19 years old.

The students were deeply moved by the article and wanted to do something in response, they told reporter Alex Perry last week. That’s when Starling found out about Brave the Shave, which raises awareness for pediatric cancer and fundraises for research toward a cure.

Students wrote letters, made posters and fliers and put together a video to bring in money. The $570 or so the students raised will support the Brave the Shave Fund and the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, a children’s cancer charity that helps affected families with financial assistance, research and advocacy.

Starling’s commitment to be so intimately involved in her students’ project — and to encourage them to hone their writing skills, video skills and more in the process — inspires us, and we know there are many teachers in Suffolk who would go to such great lengths for their students.

One student, Tanyiah Harris, said it best: “I learned don’t be afraid to be yourself,” she said. “Make a change, be bold (and) just be positive and have a positive impact on the world, like Mrs. Starling here.”