The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

June 10, 2014

6 years of reading, 1 Mohawk for Principal Bickhart

DANVILLE — Six and a half school years worth of reading for one Mohawk.

That’s the deal John Bickhart, principal of Danville Primary School, made to his students back in October. By Bickhart’s calculations, there are approximately 75,000 minutes in a school year, and his challenge to the schools more than 500 students was to read 500,000 minutes worth of reading by the end of the school year, or a little over six and a half school years. If they met that goal, he would have his hair shaved into a Mohawk the last week of school.

While the students only cracked 450,000 minutes of reading — or about six school years — Bickhart was so impressed with their efforts he decided to go ahead with the shave.

With the students gathered in the school cafeteria at 2 p.m., Monday, Bickhart made them promise to all work together to read the last 50,000 minutes over the next few days before he put his head under the barber’s razor. If each student reads 20 minutes a night for the next four nights, that goal will be met, he told them.

Kids clapped and cheered as Bickhart had his hair cut and styled by Wally Kerstetter, of Sunbury’s U.S. Male and American Lady hair salon.

“I never did this in front of an audience,” Kerstetter said. The barber added orange and purple dye to Bickhart’s remaining streak of hair, to the thrill of the audience.

Among the applauding students were several teachers and even administrators from other buildings, including district Superintendent Cheryl Latorre.

When the shave was completed, Bickhart realized he didn’t have a mirror with him. “I don’t even know what I look like,” he told the crowd.

However, he thought it would only be fair for another staff member to join him in getting a trim, which is when school intervention specialist Jesse Reibsome was brought up to also get his head shaved. Reibson also got the orange and purple hair-dye treatment, with students wildly chanting his name during the whole process.

“We’re extremely proud of the work you put into this,” a newly-shaved Bickhart told his students. However, they can’t stop reading after today, he said, as the students should keep reading throughout the summer and their school career.

If parents want to reward the students for their accomplishment, Bickhart recommended they make a contribution to the charity Heart to Hand Ministries, run by local musician Woody Wolfe.

“Woody Wolfe is a great friend of the Danville Primary School. He is a product of the Danville Area School District and constantly gives back to our school,” Bickhart said

Donations can be made at

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