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St. Thecla Raises More Than $15,000 for St. Baldrick's Foundation

By Justin Breen | March 22, 2013 6:05am | Updated on March 22, 2013 12:39pm

NORWOOD PARK — St. Thecla Catholic School first-year principal Dan Gargano hoped for 30 brave souls to have their heads shaved for Thursday's St. Baldrick's Foundation fundraiser.

So Gargano, a DePaul University graduate and Roscoe Village resident, was blown away when 77 — including 50 St. Thecla students — signed up for the tight fur chop to raise money for children with cancer.

"It's because this school has an energy that won't quit," said Gargano, 28, who also led St. Baldrick's fundraisers when he was interim principal at St. Mary of the Woods School in Edgebrook.

"It's a great school community, and we feed off one another, especially when we're doing good for others."

St. Thecla's gym was packed Thursday with the school's 218 students, plus the Rev. Gene Dyer, parents and teachers, who watched while groups had their heads shaved on the main stage.

The top fundraiser — and only woman to seek a trim — was Laura Huber, whose sister-in-law Carla is a sixth-grade teacher at the Norwood Park school.

"When Carla told me about the event, I was like, 'I'm there'," said Huber, who sported a colorful crop [fish bowl blue in the front, a purple stripe in the middle and cupcake pink in the back] before it was shaved.

"It's an amazing symbol for us to be able to stand in solidarity for these kids, most of whom are bald for part of their [cancer] treatment," added Huber, who raised nearly $1,900.

As of Thursday afternoon, the school had raised more than $15,000 for St. Baldrick's.

"This being a Catholic school, it's a good project to do something for someone else," first-grade teacher Kathy Lange said.

The school had Irish dancers, games and music to keep the students, in preschool through eighth grade, entertained throughout the two-hour event.

There also was a raffle for students to bid on who could shave the heads of Gargano, and teachers Tim O'Malley and Zach Rivest.

O'Malley, a Northeastern Illinois University graduate and Albany Park resident, said he didn't mind losing the hair off the top of his head.

"I've got a goatee, so that will even it out," said O'Malley, 31. "Plus, I gave up worrying about looks a long time ago."