Like many students, Bales Intermediate fifth grader Oscar Garza-Guerrero, 10, started the school year with a fresh, new haircut. Unlike most students, the reason for Garza-Guerrero’s haircut was not to make an impression on his classmates, but rather leave an impression on his neighbor’s heart.
Garza-Guerrero’s neighbor of four years, Jennifer Harper, has been battling cancer and lost her hair due to chemotherapy treatments. Garza-Guerrero took notice and decided to grow out his hair for more than a year.
“Ms. Jennifer is a very nice person,” Garza-Guerrero said. “I felt really bad for her because she doesn’t have any hair, so I decided to donate mine.”
Harper said the act touched her heart.
“Oscar will always lend a hand,” Harper said. “It makes me very happy and proud of him.”
Because Harper is a hairdresser, Garza-Guerrero requested she be the one to cut the 10-inches from his hair so he could donate it to Locks of Love.
Garza-Guerrero’s science / social studies teacher Sandra Weatherley was one of the first people to take notice to his extreme haircut.
“He came to school with a traditional boy’s haircut and so I asked him about it,” Weatherley said. “When Oscar told me his story, I felt like it exemplified character and helping other people.”
Weatherley discussed FISD’s emphasis on social-emotional learning (SEL) this school year and how the teachers try to show the students how to have strong character and build others up. She said she did not expect to be the one learning.
“Oscar has made me realize we don’t know everyone’s story. I thought he had long hair just because he liked long hair, and I shouldn’t have jumped to that conclusion,” Weatherley said. “I had no idea there was this special meaning behind it. He had been growing his hair out for over a year for the specific purpose of helping someone. Through that, he’s helped me learn not to judge people.”
Harper said she believes everyone can learn from Garza-Guerrero.
“I think he could inspire us and show us the benefits of helping people who are in need of a wig,” Harper said. “He’s a good role model for all of us. He showed us what it means to be sacrificial.”
After losing his grandmother to cancer last year, Garza-Guerrero said he just hopes Harper wins her battle against cancer and possibly has the chance of receiving some of his hair.