Weird hairdo helps Parkrose High math teacher raise funds for classroom technology

See how this Mohawk-hairdo wearing math teacher has done toward reaching his fundraising project goal – buying new teaching gear. Find out why he vows to grow it out again this winter – and how it looks, painted in bright, glowing colors …

David Whitfield – a calculus, algebra, and geometry teacher at Parkrose High School – sports his Mohawk hairdo right up until the Holiday break.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
It’s not every day that a high school teacher – one who can sound rather formal because of his distinct British accent – grooms his hair into a Mohawk – and allows it to be styled and colored throughout an entire semester.

But a calculus, algebra, and geometry teacher at Parkrose High School, David Whitfield, has done just that – but for a good cause. He’s been raising funds to buy new classroom equipment. (Read our previous story: CLICK HERE.)

Whitfield told us that his students suggested that if he grew and wore an odd hairstyle, such as a Mohawk, they’d pitch nickels, dimes and quarters into a fund to buy new document cameras for the math department. “A document camera is like modern-day overhead projector,” he said.

“The campaign has actually been coming along quite well,” Whitfield reported. “We’ve raised more than $400. And, we’ve already ordered our first document camera – the cost is about $320. We’re now well on the way to the funding a second document camera.”

Campaign bemuses fellow instructors
While the bulk of the funds raised has been from spare change, the school’s teachers have also pitched in. “Sarah Woodburn, Media Assistant and our librarian, said that she would match any donation up to 50 bucks – and we took in well above $93 on that day. I think most of the teachers think it’s funny; I’ve heard nothing to the contrary.”

Whitfield says his unusual tonsorial adornment helps him collect funds for the school’s technology project. Photo by his stylist, Parkrose High student Brittany Shook

On Fridays, Whitfield said that a Parkrose High Algebra II student, Brittany Shook, “does his hair”, and students bid on the opportunity to apply temporary colors.  “When it’s done properly, with the spikes and all, the kids love it. I can raise a good deal of money if it’s colored during lunchtime, by walking around with my poster.”

Although Whitfield is cutting his crop, because he’s going home to England for the Holidays – “My Dad said he wouldn’t go out in public with my hair like this” – he’ll start growing it back when he returns, he vowed.

“We’ve requested the Parkrose Bronco Boosters to match money we raised during the summer. I have hopes we’ll be able to get a second – perhaps a third – document camera for the school.”

You can help
If this story tickles your funny-bone, you can pitch in – without having to go to the school and pitch quarters into their fundraising jar. “We’ve posted the project on a website called ‘’,” Whitfield said. “They allow donors to select specific projects to support.”

It’s a little difficult to find, but for a direct link that’s worked for us, CLICK HERE to visit that website and contribute.

© 2009 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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