Just under a dozen members of the Topaz Preparatory Community lined up Monday at lunchtime to have their long hair lopped off in front of the student body.


It's something of a not-quite-annual tradition for the Topaz Tigers, said principal Karen Prestwood.


"We've been doing it for about 12 years. A year and a half is the shortest and three years is the longest [gap]," Prestwood said. "The first year I did it, it was an incentive [for test scores]."


That year, she agreed to give up a big sacrifice if students reached their achievement goal -- but only if it went to a good cause.


"Someone had to get something for it, instead of just a pie in the face," she said.


The students discovered Locks of Love, a national program that uses donated hair to create wigs and hairpieces for children who have lost their own hair due to medical reasons.


In addition to Prestwood donating her trademark tresses, students will grow their hair out all year in anticipation of the next Locks of Love event.


Stylists from local salons, including Jeremy Christopher's Salon, Hair Cuts & Colors Salon, Collage and Estilo Latino Beauty Salon, donated their time and efforts to cutting the donated locks on Monday.


But cutting Prestwood's hair was a special reward for the Hill/Gore sixth grade classroom. Those students had raised more than $1,000 in a single week for the Leukemia Society and, as a result, each of the 30 students got to cut one of the 30 ponytails from the back of Prestwood's head. Together, they took off 18 inches of her hair, leaving her with a chin-length hairdo.


Other salons associated with the Topaz student body are also participating in the Locks of Love event this week. The Eclipse Salon in the High Desert Gateway Shopping Center and selected locations of Supercuts and Great Clips will be giving free haircuts to anyone donating 10 inches or more of hair to Locks of Love.


"Everybody has something to give," Prestwood said. "It doesn't take a lot of time and doesn't cost a lot of money and somebody will definitely benefit."


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.