“Something different:” Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

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WAUKESHA -- Students at Waukesha West High School got to watch several teachers get their heads shaved at lunch on Tuesday, January 31st -- their reward for a successful fundraiser.

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

It's about a 40-minute drive from Waukesha West High School to Hope Street Ministry at 28th and Capitol in Milwaukee. Hope Street officials want to open a community center, and when a teacher at Waukesha West got wind of the plan, he got an idea for what to do with his -- and several other beards around the school.

Jim Brennan

Jim Brennan

"We decided that we wanted to venture outside of Waukesha to do something different," said Jim Brennan, Waukesha West teacher.

Brennan and his fellow staff members brought in three barbers from Milwaukee, near the Sherman Park neighborhood.

"It's fun! I thought it was a great idea," said Antonio Hurley, one of the barbers from a shop near 55th and North.

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

It was a reward for the students raising more than $4,300. Donations the students collected went into one of two buckets, labeled "Save it" or "Shave it."

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

"My classes alone brought in almost $2,000+, and I would say 90 percent of that money was in the 'Shave it' bucket," said Brennan.

The barbers shaved away the teachers' hair and beards. Those in the chair said they hope the new 'dos expose similarities between the students and their fellow teens 25 miles to the east.

"So often you forget there's kids in Milwaukee. There are 16-, 17-year-old kids that are...their peers that have different struggles, different lives," said Brennan.

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

Waukesha West staff shave after students raise money for community center in Milwaukee

The money raised will go to Hope Street Ministry for the planned community center.waukesha-west-shave-it-or-save-it-4

"I think it'll mean a lot to our kids down at 26th and Capitol, to know people their age care about them having a space too where they can live, learn, and develop new habits, as well as a safe place to just have fun and be kids," said Ashley Thomas, Hope Street Ministry executive director.

Waukesha West Principal Ryan Patt said this was a lesson in unity, and a fun one at that.

Ryan Patt

Ryan Patt

"We are so close of a community, but we still stay within our boundaries, so my hope is this fundraiser will maybe knock down some of those boundaries," said Principal Patt.

Brennan said this was such a big success, the staff is already planning to grow their hair and beards back out for another fundraiser next year.