Haircuts are usually a mundane ritual, but for a group of Hastings Middle School students and staff members, a recent haircut took on a special significance.

Haircuts are usually a mundane ritual, but for a group of Hastings Middle School students and staff members, a recent haircut took on a special significance.

During a Feb. 18 all-school assembly in the auditorium, 20 students and eight staff members got their hair cut as classmates and colleagues looked on. The event was for a good cause: The excess hair was donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

The Hastings event was organized by teacher Janice Daubenmier.

"Two years ago, two other teachers organized an assembly," said Daubenmier, "and that inspired me to start growing out my hair for Locks of Love."

Daubenmier organized the Feb. 18 event in memory of her late friend, Kim Keenan, who succumbed to cancer when the two were in college.

"She was my best friend in middle school and high school. She had to wear a wig in high school because of hair loss," Daubenmier said. "When she was 20 years old, she passed. She was at Bowling Green and I was at Ohio State."

During the Feb. 18 event, the haircut participants each chose someone special to wield the scissors. Daubenmier randomly chose one of her students, Joe Casagrande.

"I did a raffle with former students and current students and I chose a name from the basket," Daubenmier said.

While sitting on the auditorium stage, the participants -- all of them female -- had their ponytails snipped off at the same time.

"There were about 20 other staff members who sang a song to build excitement," Daubenmier said. "It was the song 'Hair' from the musical 'Hair.'"

Six professional hair stylists donated their time to cut and style the participants' hair after their ponytails were cut off.

The event resulted in 27.5 pounds of hair being donated to Locks of Love. Daubenmier said she plans to organize the hair-cutting assembly every other school year to allow participants time to grow out their hair.

"I just want to say how proud I am of each and every girl who participated," Daubenmier said. "For middle-school girls to donate their hair I'm just so proud of them."