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Principal shaves coach’s head to help American Heart Association

Coach Rob Carter poses before his head shaving, a promise he made if Heritage Elementary School students met their fundraising goal for the American Heart Association (AHA). (Record photo / Gregg Parker)
Coach Rob Carter poses before his head shaving, a promise he made if Heritage Elementary School students met their fundraising goal for the American Heart Association (AHA). (Record photo / Gregg Parker)
As students and teachers cheer, Heritage Principal Dr. Georgina Nelson shaves Coach Rob Carter's head and beard. (Record photo / Gregg Parker)
As students and teachers cheer, Heritage Principal Dr. Georgina Nelson shaves Coach Rob Carter’s head and beard. (Record photo / Gregg Parker)

MADISON – For reaching their American Heart Association (AHA) goal, Heritage Elementary School students were rewarded by watching their principal shave their coach’s head and beard.

“Our goal this year was $8,000. We raised about $8,400,” principal Dr. Georgina Nelson said. Coach John ‘Rob’ Carter motivated students by promising to allow Nelson to shave his head if they met their fundraising goal with Jump Rope for Heart.

Annually, the Heritage physical education department sponsors Jump Rope for Heart. “Students’ participation is a win-win,” Nelson said. “They practice heart-healthy activities while raising money for a great organization.”

To launch the activity, Jump Rope For Heart’s director spoke at Heritage, Carter said. During PE class, students learned lifestyle choices that AHA calls “Life’s Simple 7” and about Coach Kip Hodge’s cardiac arrest as a child.

Students completed a two-week jump roping unit with 18 different skills and ended with a two-day Jump Rope For Heart contest set to music. They used any skill they learned with single and long jump ropes. Family and friends ‘sponsored’ students with donations.

Heart disease also has affected Carter’s family. “I was willing to take a big chance and shave off my hair for the students, (who) responded in a big way. Students were chanting ‘Shave his head,'” Carter said. “I was very nervous. I’ve never had my head shaved.”

“Coach Carter’s challenge really provided an incentive for students to raise more funds this year,” Nelson said. “Many parents shared that the shaving of Coach’s head was the much anticipated talk of the dinner table.”

During the shave, students — and teachers — urged Nelson to shave Carter bald. One girl “wanted his head so shiny that she could see her reflection in his bald head,” Nelson said.

Carter has accepted his short haircut. “It’s not as bad as I thought, but I’m ready for it to grow back … and fast,” he said. Carter also coaches eighth-grade football at Liberty Middle School.

For more information, visit heart.org/jump.

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