After collecting and distributing 3,000 pairs of shoes for poor children in the Amphitheater School District, the students of Ironwood Ridge High School were treated to the spectacle of their principal and two teachers getting their heads shaved, a teacher who died her hair blue and a teacher who had the image of a shoe tattooed on her heel.
The teacher decoifing was a payoff to the students for having not only met the 3,000 pairs of shoes goal, but for doing it in dramatic fashion.
For the last 15 years Amphi physical education teacher Dee Dinota has sought the aid of her school's students to donate new athletic shoes for kids in other parts of the district who can't afford them.
She started the charitable tradition at Amphi Middle School, then took it to Canyon del Oro High School and to Ironwood Ridge, where she transferred when the school opened in 2001.
The shoes are collected during the fall and distributed in November. This year, 500 pairs were handed out to students from Prince, Holloway, Nash and Keeling elementary schools Nov. 17. The remainder are kept at a "shoe" store at Keeling where the students can replace their donated shoes during the school year as they wear out.
To help distribute the shoes, IRHS bused more than half the school's student body to Keeling.
Each year Dinota sets a goal for the amount of donated shoes. On Nov. 17, about a half-hour before the buses were set to leave IRHS for Keeling, Dinota made an announcement on the school's public address system that the effort was 216 pairs short of the 3,000 goal.
She told the school that more than $1,000 was needed to purchase the 216 pairs of shoes to meet the goal, and if the students and faculty raised that much before the buses left, she would shave her head.
"They raised $1,400 in 13 minutes," Dinota said.
So Dinota agreed to have her head shaved Nov. 19 during the school's free period. Joining her in the buzz cutting as a thank you to the students for their efforts were Principal Sam McClung and teacher Rob Klaus. Not quite brave enough to shave their heads but still willing to look silly, were teachers Glenda Arffa, who got the tattoo, and Megan Appelt, who died her hair Spanish lagoon blue. About 800 students watched and applauded the hair event in the school's gym.
Dinota is a finalist for the Circle K Teacher of the Year award and the group photo for the finalists was taken Nov. 22.