New Berlin - The start of school was a close shave for two Ronald Reagan Elementary School teachers who allowed their heads to be sheered  as part of the annual Reagan Gives Back.

This year's charitable fundraising cause is alopecia areata, a fairly common skin disease that has afflicted second-grader Ava Herbst. She was given the honor of shaving the heads of fourth-grade teacher Gary Hetzel and fifth-grade teacher Peter Michaud. Hetzel's son also has alopecia areata

The shaving was the kickoff to the 2016-17 school year, at Ronald Reagan, 4225 S. Calhoun Road.

Alopecia areata is a prevalent autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere. Several well-known celebrities and athletes have alopecia areata, including former Milwaukee Bucks star Charlie Villanueva.

“The first day of school is always exciting, and this one (was) extra special,” Ronald Reagan principal Brady Reinke said. “We are proud to help raise awareness not only for our student, but for all of those who suffer from alopecia areata.”

Students will collect money for alopecia areata awareness/research in their classrooms throughout September, which is Alopecia Areata Awareness Month. The classroom that collects the most will receive alopecia areata wristbands, and, if the school collects $500, Principal Brady Reinke will get his head shaved by Ava.

If residents want to donate, they can bring donations to the school.

The National Alopecia Areata Foundation will use the money for research, education and awareness.

Asked how he feels about probably getting his head shaved, Reinke said, "I am totally OK with it. I think it generates some great excitement from our students, and we are raising money for a great cause."

​Every year, Ronald Reagan students get involved raising money, donations or simply awareness about various issues or causes in Reagan Gives Back.

"At Reagan, we believe that we are fortunate to be part of a community, and it is our responsibility to better and enhance the community that we live in," Reinke said. "Every year as part of our Reagan Gives Back initiative, we look for ways to both bring awareness to our students and to help support our community.  In this case, we have a student right here in our school who, through our efforts, will benefit."

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