A fifth-grade teacher at Carver Elementary School in Richmond, Virginia named Robert Dunham is being celebrated for creating a memorable day for his students by giving free haircuts on the morning before their Moving On Ceremony. He said he just wanted his students to look their best on that special day.
“I just had this natural feeling that some of my students weren’t going to be able to get a haircut, so I consciously picked up the clippers,” Dunham said. “My wife asked me ‘where are you going with those clippers?’ I responded, ‘Something tells me some of my students are going to need a trim.’”
And the teacher was right. Before the Moving On Ceremony, when his students bid farewell to their elementary school and set their sights on junior high, many students came inside the room for a fresh cut.
“Anytime you go to the barbershop to get a new haircut, returning, you feel good, you look good, you’ve got that confidence starting to sprout out of you,” Dunham said. “I want every one of my students to be confident today. This is a special day for them.”
One of his colleagues who witnessed the event started taking photos and posted it on social media. It immediately went viral, but Dunham said what’s important for him is that his boys feel good on that special day. It is something that he always imparts in his students as well.
“You should always be found doing the right thing, at all times,” he said. “I’m just happy to be a part of that moment.”
Dunham further said he learned how to cut hair from his father who owned a chain of barbershops in Brooklyn during his teenage days. With the help of some series of YouTube videos and self-practice, he developed his skills. And he was glad he was able to use it to bring good tidings about Carver Elementary School, which has been involved in a cheating scandal led by then-Principal Kiwana Yates.
“We have some of the funniest and brightest kids on the planet,” he said. “Often we get bad comments because of things that happened in the past. We tell people, this is in the new Carver. Whatever happened in the past are over, its a new era.”