Most people are uncomfortable with change, however for freshman Mark Lozano he had to quickly become used to it.
“It felt like I was saying goodbye to something I worked on for a really long time,” Lozano said.
His aunt battled cancer and after hearing her testimony, he was inspired and motivated to grow out his hair.
“When my aunt was younger she was diagnosed with cancer,” Lozano said. “I figured it would be a nice gesture for me to grow out my hair and donate it to show her I care.”
Mark’s friends were supportive of his decision and thrilled for him.
“When I found out why he was growing it out and that he was going to donate it I was really excited,” sophomore Payton DeLong said. “I also donated my hair when I got it cut, plus he seemed really passionate about his reasoning.”
Although his friends understood it, others didn’t. Mark was bullied and picked on for having long hair, but he still went through with it.
“I felt bad and wanted to show my aunt how people shouldn’t be bullied for a disease,” Lozano said. “One time I had gotten called a name and it hurt. People bullied me for it an I didn’t like it. I’d get called a caveman, Tarzan, or even an eighties rook dude. Sometimes people would call me ma’am while holding the door for me. ”
It was a surprise to the JROTC instructors when Mark walked into the armory.
“When school starts in the August many cadets walk through the door with grooming standards that do not meet the criteria in the Army and Cadet Command Regulations that govern the JROTC program,” Major Lawrence Garcia said. “However Mark’s hair was much longer than we had seen and it immediately caused concern for Sergeant Major and me.”
As an instructor, it was difficult to make a decision like that, however it was eventually decided to allow Mark to stay in the corps.
“I needed an absolute timeline as to when he would get a haircut,” Major Lawrence Garcia said. “After a conference call with Mark’s mom, she assured me that his hair would meet the donation criteria by Christmas break at that point I made the decision to allow him to stay in JROTC.”
Major understood how this act of kindness could ultimately change the life of someone else.
“After talking to Mark and hearing about his quest, I definitely felt it to be a noble cause,” Major Garcia said. “As unorthodox as it is for a JROTC cadet to take up this cause, he ultimately lived up to one of the Army values of “Selfless Service” by helping a child he doesn’t know who is experiencing hardship to have improved self-confidence after chemotherapy. Despite the long hair Mark did everything we asked of him and more. He became an active member of JROTC.”
After Mark got his hair cut, it was a surprise to everyone.
“It was exciting to see him surprise us one December morning with his hair cut before our agreed upon timeline,” Major Garcia said. “He was almost unrecognizable.”
Having short hair will be a new experience for Mark.
“It’s going to be quite a journey with short hair. I don’t really need to use conditioner, ” freshman Mark Lozano said. “Now my hair won’t get pulled a lot or it get stuck everywhere.”