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Students from Arellanes Junior High in Santa Maria, along with staff and friends, donated some of their hair to the Locks of Love program. //Len Wood/Staff

Looking at Raquel Quintanar’s long black hair, there was no way to tell she just had nearly a foot of it expertly trimmed away.

Raquel, 14, was one of

29 Arellanes Junior High students, in Santa Maria, who had just donated at least 10 inches of their flowing hair to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.

The event was the third time the school had arranged the shearing. Bruce Cleveland, owner of Trends Salon in Santa Maria, has volunteered his business for all three donations.

The students, along with teachers Sonya Morris and Dawn Elliott, two moms, four siblings and another volunteer, donated 37 feet of hair to Locks of Love. One mother gave up 17 inches of her hair.

Quintanar donated her hair despite complaints from her father.

He said fathers never want their daughters to cut their hair. For Quintanar, losing

10 inches still left her with hair that reached below her shoulder blades.

“I want to make a difference,” was all the quiet eighth-grader had to say.

Quintanar said she’s been growing it out for as long as she could remember.

While it was hard to tell Quintanar had donated after her cut, Alma Herrera ended up with a very short style, well above her shoulders. She decided to donate her hair despite having it cut just two months ago.

“I just thought it was a good thing to do,” she said.

This was the third time girls from the Tanglewood school offered up their hair to help others. Morris said each time the group gets larger and more brave.

“It’s incredible, the outpouring,” said Morris, who has donated her hair each time her students have participated. “This is a hard thing to do. We’ve had tears before, but not this time.”

In addition to giving their hair, the girls got a new style, a few got manicures and teen facials, and all got lunch from

Me ’N Eds Pizza.

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