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Teacher loses three-years of hair to student charity drive

Cedar Hill students raise 1,200 pieces of sports gear for Cuban kids
Students of Cedar Hill middle school celebrate the end of the school year with 1,200-plus pieces of sports equipment that teacher Paul Hayes will deliver to children in low-income areas of Cuba at the end of 2018. Travis Paterson/News Staff

It was a dare that teacher Paul Hayes was willing to make, and now he’ll be a little cooler on those warm summer days.

At the beginning of the school year Hayes incentivized his Grade 8 class, and the entire student class of Cedar Hill middle school to raise over 1,000 pieces of new and used sports equipment for his non-profit, We Haul 2 Play. The Grade 8 teacher’s charitable initiative not only collects used sporting goods for children and youth living in rural and impoverished areas throughout the world, but Hayes also personally delivers it using a bicycle and trailer.

This year the Cedar Hill students exceeded the goal of 1,000 pieces by pulling in more than 1,200 pieces, and counting.

So with three days of school left before summer, Hayes sat in a chair in the middle of the Cedar Hill gym, and let a student snip off the mane he had grown for three years. The lock of hair was more than eight inches, an intentional measurement to meet the donation requirements for Locks of Love.

“I told the students in September I’d cut my hair, so this is it,” Hayes said while dozens of students co-ordinated dozens of boxes of baseball, soccer and other sports equipment. “Our kids have been great in their support and in getting behind this.”

Batting helmets and gloves are marked with the names of students, such as Lorelei Goodfellow, who has now finished her time at Cedar Hill and is off to high school.

“We started fundraising for donations in Grade 6 and also donated some of our own gear,” Goodfellow said. “We would go around the community but there was also a box in each classroom and students would bring a piece of gear for it.”

“It’s nice to know these kids will use it, if they can’t afford it,” said student Kai McGuire.

And it’s not just students from Cedar Hill that contribute. Arbutus middle school, Gordon Head baseball, Bays United and Lakehill soccer clubs have all contributed used sports equipment.

Hayes plans to take the equipment to Cuba during the 2018 winter holiday. Hayes has delivered sports equipment there before, as well as China, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.