NEWINGTON - Sporting black baseball caps on Friday, Oct. 5, Newington High School seniors Audrey Schuler and Jordan Buslewicz were hoping students throughout the school district were also wearing hats for a worthy cause.
Both teens spearheaded “Heavenly Hat Day” throughout the school district to raise money for “Heavenly Hats,” an organization that collects new hats and monetary donations to provide hats to children who have lost their hair due to illness.
Since 2001, the Wisconsin-based Heavenly Hats Foundation has distributed more than 4 million brand new hats to hundreds of hospitals and clinics throughout the country, according to its website.
Last year, the NHS Student Council in a collaborative effort with Principal Terra Tigno raised $1,360 for the cause, said English teacher Melissa Morello, who acts as the Student Council advisor. This year the group expanded the effort to include all seven town schools. “We’re hoping to beat last year’s total,” Morello said with a blue baseball cap perched atop her head.
The way the fundraiser works, students who donated $1 to Heavenly Hats received a sticker that allowed them to wear a hat to school on Friday. During last year’s event, students and staff at NHS showed up on Heavenly Hat Day with all manner of interesting headgear from green Leprechaun hats to Viking hats to marching band hats to sombreros.
This year, the choices at the high school were a little more subdued because the school was in the middle of “color wars” for “spirit week” so they needed to wear a particular color hat to match the color assigned to their class. But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of Schuler and Buslewicz, who had been working for the previous two weeks to pull “Heavenly Hat Day” together.
“We went to the other schools and made posters and fliers with the younger kids all over the district,” said Schuler, who was this year’s “Heavenly Hat” chairman. She took on the leadership role because she wanted to help kids who were facing illness, she said.
“I really wanted to give back to the community,” Schuler said. “I know people who have had cancer and lost their hair probably feel insecure about that, so I wanted to make them feel less insecure.”
Buslewicz, who is the Student Council treasurer, will collect and count the money donated from all town schools. The Student Council will also collect donations for a raffle that will allow the winner to throw a pie in the face of a teacher at the pep rally.
“I think it’s an important cause to me because several of my family members have had cancer,” Buslewicz said. “Your hair should be the last thing you worry about when you are facing an illness.”
The district’s six other public schools also took part in Heavenly Hats Day this year, hosting their own events for the cause.
Lisa Backus can be reached at 860-801-5066 or Lbackus@centralctcommunications.com.