By Jenna Vespi and Mia Potamianos
Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Physical Education teacher Jeff Ike has been growing out his hair. “I talk about (his hair) every morning when I drive into school with my mom, because it’s so funny,” said junior Meg Parker. Not only does Ike stand out with his long hair in the building of clean cut professionals, but he literally stands outside by the senior parking lot every morning checking for parking passes and waving to parents.
The story of Ike’s hair dates back to the winter of 2005. J-DHS did a fundraiser for the Golisano Children’s Hospital of Syracuse. Depending on how much money was raised, a student from each class would be randomly asked to shave their head during the first home basketball game in the new gymnasium. Because the school raised over $1,000, Ike was asked to join, and was the only teacher who agreed to shave his head, too. Ike continued to shave his head after that because he has since thought he looks better without hair.
Seven years later, while talking to J-DHS alumnus Davis Elmore in February 2014, Ike was asked to play a game of “What are the Odds,” which is a game of dares. In this case, Ike was asked by Elmore, “what are the odds you grow your hair out?” On the count of three Ike and Elmore had to say a number between one and 10 and the odds weren’t in Ike’s favor. After a couple of tries they both said six. Ike lost the bet and had to grow out his hair.
Students have many opinions on how his hair looks today. “It’s gorgeous. I would think there are about 36 different shades of gray in it,” said senior Paddy Hagan. “It’s quite luscious,” said freshman Sean Hlywa. Freshman Brendan Drotar agreed and suggested that Ike should put it in a ponytail sometime. “I’m used to it now, but when he first came into gym I was a little confused because normally he’s bald and we all thought he wasn’t bald by choice,” said senior Kallen Prosak.
J-DHS staff also had a lot to say about Ike’s hair. Principal Paul Gasparini said he is very jealous of Ike’s hair. “He looks homeless,” said Spanish teacher Mike O’Brien. “Powerful is the word that comes to mind,” Will Hartley said. Hartley also said Ike is very lucky because, “the possibilities are endless,” when it comes to Halloween. “I think he should start walking around with a large staff like a wise man,” Hartley said.
J-DHS students are looking forward to see what Ike will choose to do next with his hair.