PLANT CITY – Amanda Harris has had long hair her entire life.
But the 56-year-old Plant City resident sacrificed her long locks last week to help children in need. Harris was among the 31 women who volunteered to have their ponytails cut by Plant City High cosmetology students for Locks of Love.
Harris had been considering a shorter hairstyle when she heard about the Wednesday charity event.
“I thought, this was the time and this was the day. And I wanted to help a good cause,” she said.
Locks of Love will use the donations to create hairpieces for children who have long-term hair loss for medical reasons.
Cosmetology teacher Laurel Ritenbaugh supervised as high school students cut at least 10 inches of hair from women, including current and former students and members of the community who volunteered the locks they had nurtured for years. Students and teachers from the Plant City Adult Community School, which shares the teaching salon at Plant City High, also participated.
Amanda Fissel, a 2002 Plant City High graduate, said she couldn’t think of a better reason to wear shorter hair. Tina White, a 1993 graduate, also returned to the campus to do her part.
Anita Davis, who has worn her hair long since she was 12, said she decided to get involved after her nephew, who had long hair, donated his to Locks of Love at a similar event.
Plant City High cosmetology students who used their skills to snip off the locks and create a new hairstyle for each woman included Ashley Bishop, Courtney Carter, Chloe Fuson, Amber Ham, Amber Leab, Meghan Polk, Jeffrey Ruth, Selena Sanchez and Jana Watkins. Plant City Adult and Community School participants included teacher Irish Miller, sylist Kalese Hall and adult students Abby Manzano, Lindsey Oyola, Caitlin Platt, Jenna Ringdahl and Wilma Vanderham. Blake High School teacher JoAnn Daves also helped supervised the adult and community school students.
Locks of Love benefit was held in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Day at Plant City High. At least four Plant City High teachers are breast cancer survivors.
The event was organized by Marisol Ortiz, a married mother of four children who writes a blog and is also a consultant for Mary Kay beauty products. She gave the participants who had their hair cut a free makeover.
Ortiz said she wanted to help a charity that she found worthwhile. Her 14-year-old daughter, Plant City High ninth-grader Krystal Castillo, was among the volunteers who had her hair cut.
“It’s all about helping children,” Ortiz said. “It’s something that I felt like we all need to do.”