A school community collaboration is the reason why Wellington C. Mepham High School was able to host its annual Chop Your Locks for charity event benefiting the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
This year’s hybrid event raised nearly $22,000 and counting. Held in person on May 27, the fundraiser was simultaneously live broadcasted by the Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting program.
Social studies chairperson Robyn Einbinder praised teachers Kerry Dennis and Chris Patten for making this year’s fundraiser happen in a live setting.
“We have a generous community and we saw that last night and in the weeks leading up to the events,” added Einbinder.
Administrators and custodial staff were integral, as well as senior leadership class members.
“Having an in-person event was so important to us not only for the participants but for our students to have a chance to see how impactful their efforts are,” said Dennis. “There is a feeling in that gym on a St. Baldrick’s night that is indescribable, and we were so happy to capture a little part of that.”
While participants were donating their hair in the gymnasium, event organizers had set up Zoom rooms on big screen televisions for friends and family members to view at home.
Students and staff were able to pivot the event’s coverage, offering live streaming and reporting via the Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting team, under the direction of Stu Stein Matthew Russell and Lisa Kalish.
In addition to on-air talent of AJ Fried, Michele Spiller and Ava Scheffler, BMB had six camera operators and four students in the control room, a sound engineer, a boom operator and two student producers on the floor.
Stein said they rely on the students knowing their assignments and trusting each other to all do their part. Nearly 50 students collaborated on the broadcast.
“Live coverage is the most exciting, most fun thing that we do,” he added. “Just because it is so unpredictable. They’re forced to work as a team, they’re forced to rely on each other, and they’re forced to problem solve in real time. When we go live there’s only so much that Matthew Russell, Lisa Kalish and I can do. The kids really need to figure it out and to take opportunities when they present themselves. It doesn’t get any more ‘real world experience’ than a live broadcast.”
- Halle Wunderman prepared to shave the underside of freshman Sammi Rooney’s hair as Ava Scheffler from Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting interviews her. Sammi raised $100.
- Chris Rosenthan, a Class of 2017 alumnus, was ready to shave his locks as social studies teacher Jacqueline Geller waved at his family and friends who were watching via Zoom.
- From left, Kelly Johnson, Halle Wunderman, Eliza Kraki and Ivan Suazo assisted at the welcome booth at the Mepham St. Baldrick’s fundraiser on May 27.
- Mepham junior Nick Dato raised $250 this year.
- From left, Matthew Manno, Michelle Spiller and AJ Fried worked at the Bellmore-Merrick Broadcasting booth.
- Social studies teacher/co-organizer Kerry Dennis, chairperson Robyn Einbinder, Assistant Principals Andrew Del Rosario, Chris Safina and Principal Eric Gomez.
- Social studies teacher/co-organizer Chris Patten (center) performed with the Amityville American Legion Pipe Band as people entered Mepham on May 27 for the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser.
Photos courtesy of the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District