At the start of the school day Thursday, Kaitlin Huizinga's blonde hair fell below her shoulders.
By day's end, it was eight inches shorter.
Kaitlin, 11, a fifth-grader at Wilson K-8 School, and 37 others donated 28 feet of hair during a Locks of Love donation drive.
The event was the culmination of Kaitlin's efforts since the beginning of the school year to have people cut their hair for cancer victims.
"It's very hard for a kid my age to find places to volunteer or just do volunteer work," Kaitlin said. "Thanks to my teacher, the school and my family, it was able to happen."
Inspired by her grandfather, who died of cancer, and a student within her class who lost his hair to cancer treatment, Kaitlin found she could help by donating to the Locks of Love non-profit organization.
Before the beginning of this school year, Kaitlin wrote her teacher, Jeff Stewart, mentioning she would like to do something along the lines of her goals in life, which consist of helping people and preserving the environment.
Stewart is no stranger to Kaitlin's desire to help people, and was only slightly taken back by the fact a student wrote him a letter prior to the school year. In third grade, Kaitlin and Stewart worked together in Student Council, where he noticed Kaitlin's particular interest in the council's activities of organizing a toothbrush drive and a diaper drive, along with generally assisting the community.
"She's kind, she's thoughtful, she's helpful to others, she seeks to improve her environment, and she is responsible," Stewart said. "It's something rarely seen with somebody her age. If she says 'I'll do it in two weeks,' it's as good as done, whatever it is."
Kaitlin said to she wanted to pour her energy and efforts into doing Locks of Love, and it was as good as done. After making up flyers, posters and having her message heard on the morning announcements once a month, Kaitlin kept reminding students, faculty and parents that she was planning to collect hair at the end of the school year.
She contacted hair salons to find volunteers to cut hair. Five hair stylists from Great Cuts answered Kaitlin's call, and donated their time and expertise to loping off anywhere from 8 inches to 12 inches of hair from 36 girls and even one man.
Fellow classmates ran in throughout the afternoon congratulating each girl on their hair cuts, saying how much they enjoyed everyone's shorter hair, followed by assuring each other they would enjoy the lighter head of hair in the coming hot summer months.
After each lock was cut off, it was placed in a Ziploc bag with the length noted in marker, then placed on a table for all to see.
Kaitlin followed by taking a large red permanent marker tallying each lock that was cut.
"I really want to show girls my age that they can help and they can make a difference, just small parts at a time," Kaitlin said. "I think this event was good way to make that happen."