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Locks for leak cleanup

Students at Huntington Beach High School shave their heads to contribute hair to oil clean-up effort in the Gulf of Mexico.

May 27, 2010|By Britney Barnes

Huntington Beach High School students shaved their heads at lunch Monday to help clean up the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

A line of students, mostly male, waited their turn to lose their hair to contribute to what is predicted to be the worst oil spill in history. About 60 students donated their hair at the Buzz Cut-a-Thon put on by the Huntington Beach High School student newspaper, Oiler Ink.

"I think it's pretty amazing that kids are willing to go to that extreme for a good cause," said Jason Ross, the assistant principal of guidance.

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The hair collected Monday afternoon will be sent to the nonprofit Matter of Trust to be used to help absorb the oil out of the ocean.

Oil has been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico since a Deepwater Horizon rig exploded April 20, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The explosion killed 11 workers, eventually sank the rig and has left an estimated 5,000 gallons of oil leaking into the ocean every day since, the Times reported.

"It's really going to destroy the whole ecosystem in the area," said Nick Cicchetti, 17, co-assistant editor of the paper.

Nick was the first to have his head buzzed in a small corridor next to Gatorade machines as a crowd of students began to form.

The journalism class has been closely following the oil leak and organized the hair drive. Co-Assistant Editor Paige Turner, 18, spearheaded the event and cajoled three hairstylists from her mother's salon, Main Moves & Body Works, 7171 Warner Ave., to come to the school on their day off.

Journalism advisor Mark Kamei said he is trying to make his students aware of the issues and take ownership of them through writing or action. By doing so, "they take control of their own learning," he said.

The idea that anything will really help fix the problem doesn't seem likely to 17-year-old Joe Chiccarelli. The oil has ruined the water, killed animals and affected the entire ecosystem, the senior said. Despite the "helpless" situation, Joe still wanted to do what he could and donated his hair.

"I think everyone should take it upon themselves to step up," Joe said.

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