Student, Teacher, Shave Heads for Charity

Published in the Laconia Daily Sun

Seventh grader Olivia Mundahl started with a $250 fundraising goal to benefit the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research for cancers that affect children, teens and young adults. Volunteer fundraisers for St. Baldrick’s shave their heads in solidarity with kids experiencing baldness from cancer treatments.

Olivia learned of St. Baldrick’s after a family member became a “shavee” a few years ago. She credits Sant Bani middle school language arts teacher Wendy Pietroniro, who talks with the class about inner qualities being more important than outward appearances, for inspiring her to change her looks in a way that would help others. Olivia said, “I decided to do this to help raise awareness for childhood cancer and to show people that our identity doesn't need to be wrapped up in our hair. I'm showing myself and others that no matter how I look, I will always be me.”

Wendy was supportive of Olivia’s goal, and considered joining her as a “shavee.” Olivia said, “After I reached $700, I challenged her to join me if I got to $1,000.” Wendy agreed, and when Olivia surpassed that goal, Wendy launched her own fundraising campaign and also exceeded $1,000. Wendy said, "When I heard Olivia's reasons for embarking on this endeavor, I thought, 'Of course, I'm going to do this. There's no way I won't support a middle school student who's taking action to make a positive change in the world.' I also think it's a good a reminder that what we say and do defines us, not our physical appearance. The bottom line is, Olivia's strength of character and selflessness has inspired me to take action."

Other middle schoolers have also been inspired; over February break, four girls in sixth and eighth grades cut their hair and donated it to organizations that provide wigs to cancer patients.

Olivia and Wendy will be shaving their heads together at a Middle School gathering on March 17; donations in support may be made at

About Sant Bani School

Sant Bani, founded in 1973, is a vibrant independent K-8 school located five minutes from Exit 22 on I-93. Students graduate with confidence and a passion for learning, prepared to succeed in high school. To learn more about SBS, visit