Hundreds of students and parents packed Lincoln Middle School's gym Thursday afternoon to watch volunteers climb into chairs, lined up in a long row, and have stylists cut their hair off.
The students raised a whopping $72,000 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation to benefit the fight against pediatric cancer, far outdoing last year's grand total of $57,000.
Students cheered on the shavees, and both a jazz band and a steel drum band played music, leading to a loud but happy decibel level in the gym of the school, in Park Ridge-Niles School District 64.
"I'm doing it to support her," said parent Scott Lynch, putting his hand on daughter Gabriella's shoulder, "and my mom, and her grandmother and grandfather, passed from cancer."
While a number of girls got their long hair cut short, Gabriella was one of the brave few to have her head completely shaved.
"I'm doing it to help all the little kids with cancer," she said.
Student Lulie Duerkop, who got her hair trimmed into a pixie cut, said, "One of my friends here at school had cancer and he survived, but my aunt had it and she didn't survive."
After stepping shorn from the stylist's chair, student Harry Donovan said, "I'm doing it just for all the kids who have cancer."
School board member Sharon Lawson got her head shaved, along with her husband and son.
"We've both lost parents to cancer," she said, indicating herself and her husband David Mangian. "I'm here as a school board member to support the girls getting their hair cut."
Katie May, a sixth grade science teacher at the school, took the microphone and acknowledged her promise that if students raised $70,000 or more, she would have her long mane cut off. To cheers, she sat down in the chair a stylist gave her an Anne Hathaway-style bob.
See photos and video of the event, attached.