Aquinas High School students shave their heads as statement against abortion

SHEER CONVICTION

Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012 8:56 PM
Last updated Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012 7:44 AM
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Garrett Merz has given up his hair for Lent this year.

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Bridgit Dresser shaves freshman Garrett Merz's head during an Aquinas High School fundraiser for an anti-abortion pregnancy center. "This is a stand against abortion," Garrett said.  MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
MICHAEL HOLAHAN/STAFF
Bridgit Dresser shaves freshman Garrett Merz's head during an Aquinas High School fundraiser for an anti-abortion pregnancy center. "This is a stand against abortion," Garrett said.

The Aquinas High School freshman volunteered to shave his head in the school’s cafeteria on Ash Wednesday.

This was no ordinary haircut.

“This is a stand against abortion,” said Garrett, 14, of Augusta. “We believe it’s wrong and wanted to do something.”

Several students, a teacher and a parent volunteered to shave their heads or cut their hair at the first Shave ’em to Save ’em, which raised money for an anti-abortion pregnancy center.

Nicholas Scicchitano, who created the event with Merz, said he wasn’t sure how much they had collected in support of the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center, but added that the money wasn’t the point.

“Every time I see my bald head, it’ll be a constant reminder to pray for unborn children,” said Nicholas, 14, of North Augusta.

The idea for the event was sparked after January’s March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Nearly 40 students from Aquinas, a private Catholic school, traveled to Washington to participate.

Campus minister Michael Lammers challenged each of them to follow through with ideas to support the cause after the march ended.

“They came to me and said, ‘We want to do this,’ ” Lammers said. “They had this desire to make an impact. I asked them, ‘Why? Why shave your heads?’ And I could tell from their answers that it would be a sacrifice for them, which is what Lent is all about.”

Lent is the 40-day church season in preparation for Easter, when Christians celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is a solemn time of prayer, fasting and repentance.

“We mirror the sacrifice of Jesus Christ,” Nicholas said. “It’s a huge sacrifice, especially in high school, when people think looks are everything.”

Jessica Johnson, 14, of Aiken, was one of three girls to participate. They all opted to cut their hair, not shave their heads.

“My parents think it’s kind of crazy, but they support me,” said Jessica, who shed nearly 10 inches.

Lammers said the participants checked with their parents before going through with their plan.

Nicholas’ father, Bill, not only gave permission, but also decided to shave his head along with his three boys, who participated.

“It’s a very good cause,” he said. “If they can walk the walk, so can I.”

Comments (32) Add comment
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faithson
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faithson 02/22/12 - 11:29 pm
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cut your hair, collect money,

cut your hair, collect money, pray... how about spending time helping those who's mothers did not abort.

andrew412
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andrew412 02/23/12 - 12:42 am
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I'm not sure what the

I'm not sure what the opinions of a 14-year-old boy have to do with the reproductive rights of a fully grown woman. I wonder if they would see the world the same now as when they become adults... On a political side note: like many readers of this paper, a true conservative would agree the government should not interfere with personal choices of Americans. But when it comes to abortion rights, it seems like some have forgotten that women are citizens, too. (Please feel free to argue the constitutional rights of a fertilized egg if you are offended by this post.)

Jon Lester
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Jon Lester 02/23/12 - 02:42 am
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If you really want to do
Unpublished

If you really want to do something about the issue, you should promote prevention. The law won't change in your lifetime.

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 02/23/12 - 06:08 am
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jesus didn't talk about
Unpublished

jesus didn't talk about abortion. he cried about the poor constantly. augusta has lots of those. just an idea, kids.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/23/12 - 06:22 am
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Seems to me a 14 year old boy

Seems to me a 14 year old boy may become a father some day and has just as much right to speak out and choose life for his child, as the mother has, to choose death for their child. Instead of appaulding these young people for taking a stand for what they believe in, you ridicule them, how sad.

Jon, you make a good point about speaking on the issues of prevention but why does it have to be one or the other, why not both and maybe they do speak out on prevention and possibly just didn't make it to the paper.

It just amazes me that two and a half negative comments on an article where we should be encouraging these young kids to take a stand for what you believe and become involved in your community.

broad street narrow mind
348
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broad street narrow mind 02/23/12 - 06:27 am
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because they're obviously
Unpublished

because they're obviously trained to think this way. their teachers and parents are obsessed with abortion, not because jesus said anything about it, but because republicans took over the church a couple decades ago. it's creepy. christians have very little in common with christ around here.
or maybe i'm wrong- name one thing in common.

jbenny2010
272
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jbenny2010 02/23/12 - 06:43 am
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Well, I think it's a matter

Well, I think it's a matter of religious expression. Aquinas is supported by the Catholic Church which has long championed the cause of right to life. Personally, I think abortion is wrong in all instances because the unborn child is an innocent victim, and the bible states that the Lord hates hands that shed innocent blood. And please don't get me started on Planned Parenthood and the Margaret Sanger connection to eugenics.

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 02/23/12 - 06:42 am
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i think you get yourself
Unpublished

i think you get yourself started. anti-war would make more sense with that blood hands quotes you got there. anti-war would be jesus-like without question.

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/23/12 - 06:43 am
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Wish people would do some

Wish people would do some research. God speaks very clearly in the Bible on the value of unborn children. God's Word says that He personally made each one of us, and has a plan for each life.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart.
—Jeremiah 1:5

This is what the Lord says—He who made you, who formed you in the womb
—Isaiah 44:2

God vowed to punish those who ripped open the women with child
—Amos 1:13

broad street narrow mind
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broad street narrow mind 02/23/12 - 06:50 am
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none of those quotes are
Unpublished

none of those quotes are jesus. and none of them really are anti-abortion. one is like a japaneses koan similar to who were you before your parents were born, one is just talking about creation and mystery of life, and another is about ripping a woman up i assume against her (and her owner/husband/father's) will. nothing particularly anti-abortion there, but moreover nothing at all anti-abortion from jesus. yet, american christians are obsessed. as is the republican party. why?
if these kids were obsessed with poor people that would make much more sense or obsessed with american violence abroad. but it's predictable it'll be abortion every time. not because of anything jesus said.

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 02/23/12 - 07:27 am
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The Bible is true whether it

The Bible is true whether it is "spoken by Jesus" or written by someone else. Scripture...the Bible...is "God breathed"...His inspiration. It is very sad to see so many critical and bitter comments in reference to kids who are doing something positive...taking a stand for what they believe is morally and ethically correct. Every day we read about kids shooting each other, bullying or even most recently participating in what they called a 'rape' gang, and here we see kids doing something positive and with good intentions. Whether you agree with their personal beliefs or not, can you not at least refrain from your bitter criticisms? Very, very sad.

proud2bamerican
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proud2bamerican 02/23/12 - 07:34 am
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andrew412...I agree with you

andrew412...I agree with you that government does not need to be making decisions for us regarding personal choices which are not illegal. In that same manner I would ask that the government also not use my money to provide free condoms, birth control pills, abortions, etc. If someone is willing to choose to have sex, often unprotected in the case of abortion issues, then they should also be willing to pay for their consequences; financially and otherwise. Give people their rights to choose, but on BOTH sides of the issue.

theirmom
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theirmom 02/23/12 - 07:57 am
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To Broad Street Narrow

To Broad Street Narrow Mind:
The boy on the front of today's Chronicle and many of the kids whose heads were shaved had just gotten back from a service field trip where they helped serve at the soup kitchen.
To faithson: They raised money for Care Pregnancy Centers, to help the mothers of women who have chosen NOT to abort.
No matter what your other views are, I wanted to get these two facts straight.

MrsD2
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MrsD2 02/23/12 - 07:57 am
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All though I believe that

All though I believe that everyone has the right to express their opinions and beliefs in there own way, it boggles my mind that children can no longer pray in school but you can support anti-abortion convictions in school.

theirmom
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theirmom 02/23/12 - 08:10 am
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MrsD2: Aquinas High School

MrsD2: Aquinas High School has a chapel in which they have Mass once a week. Also, every day at lunch many students go to pray. Perhaps you didn't realize AHS was a Catholic Christian school?

IamNOTU
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IamNOTU 02/23/12 - 08:14 am
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MrsD2 - I believe Aquinas not

MrsD2 - I believe Aquinas not only allows praying in school, but encourages it!

To all - these children have courage to stand up for what is right and what is in the Bible. If you noticed their quotes are non-judgemental - something we cannot say about many of these posts. God did speak about the unborn as noted above. He also gave us a commandment Thou Shalt Not Kill. He did not say Thou Shalt Not Kill only after the age of 5 and below the age of 80.

I don't see where this is a Republican or Democrat thing. If you know history, the Catholic Church was a dominate voting block of the Democratic party for years. Sadly the party has long strayed from its roots. Regardless just because something is legal does not make it morally right. After all, alcohol was illegal at one time and Slavery was legal. Was that right? Would you complain if the kids stood up for one of these causes? Or are people only complaining because the cause was put in your face and deep down you wonder if it is morally right??

I think the Augusta community should be proud of these children. Many of them are already helping out in the community. The kids and many of the parents of the students at Aquinas volunteer in the local soup kitchen, food bank, churches and many other places around Augusta. I am sure they would welcome any of the posters to come and stand by their side as they learn to live like Jesus Christ.

I would imagine that many of the students who read this article are going to pray for those who posted here. I know I will. I hope God blesses each of you and that on judgement day you will be able to stand with these children in the kingdom of heaven.

proud2bamerican
441
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proud2bamerican 02/23/12 - 08:16 am
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With all due respect, it is

With all due respect, it is very difficult to imagine someone with such a critical, judgmental and self righteous attitude truly understanding what Jesus is all about. One thing Jesus would remind everyone of is to take the log out of your own eye instead of focusing on the splinter in the eye of someone else...if it is so important to you for others to act as Jesus did then remember how important it was to Jesus that we model His love and not condemn others first.

FLgirl
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FLgirl 02/23/12 - 08:49 am
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I knew the minute I laid eyes

I knew the minute I laid eyes on this piece that it was going to become a religious discussion

InChristLove
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InChristLove 02/23/12 - 08:50 am
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Is there a problem having a

Is there a problem having a religious discussion (as long as it's a cordial discussion)?

allhans
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allhans 02/23/12 - 08:54 am
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When I see the starving

When I see the starving children in other parts of the world and a request for money to feed them, somehow, I never think "my! they should have been aborted".

MrsD2
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MrsD2 02/23/12 - 09:45 am
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IamNOTU - I was just

IamNOTU - I was just referring to general public education schools. I 'm sure Aquanis does allow prayer which is GREAT!

crkgrdn
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crkgrdn 02/23/12 - 09:57 am
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How too often we hear the

How too often we hear the refrain calling for taking care of the children who are not aborted. Churches and agencies that are vocal for life also look after life by providing services and other help.

My. my, we do live in a culture of death, but some are courageous enough to resists the selfish impulses of the death culture.

David Parker
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David Parker 02/23/12 - 09:57 am
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FLgirl, this is a

FLgirl, this is a religious-themed persuasive discussion for the most part. Just pointing it out commenters, no alterior meaning in this statement.

crkgrdn
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crkgrdn 02/23/12 - 10:27 am
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Every morning, in Columbia

Every morning, in Columbia County schools, there is a moment of silence. Teachers can't know if students are praying, but I expect some students are praying, especially those that trace the sign of the cross. And, at commencement students can give prayers, although school officials may not, although at the end of last year's commencement address, given by a teacher at Lakeside High School, that teacher ended by saying, "Peace be with you."

moles
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moles 02/23/12 - 10:32 am
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I am blessed to be one of the

I am blessed to be one of the teachers of these caring and committed students. I can tell you that when they are taught to be pro-life, that includes all life -- the un-born, poor, elderly, those in war, etc. Their education stresses the value of all life. I am extremely proud to see them initiate such a movement.

Bonk
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Bonk 02/23/12 - 10:36 am
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Interesting that this

Interesting that this discussion takes place on the 2nd day of lent. I wish that people would give up their self-contradictory, homophobic, anti reproductive rights religion for lent.

InChristLove
22485
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InChristLove 02/23/12 - 10:51 am
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Well Bonk, since the purpose

Well Bonk, since the purpose of Lent is for those who are children of God, to cleanse ourselves of unrighteousness and draw themselves into a closer relationship with Christ, I'm afraid your wish won't be granted and seems a little contradictory in itself.

AutumnLeaves
10343
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AutumnLeaves 02/23/12 - 11:19 am
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I applaud Aquinas students

I applaud Aquinas students for taking a public stand on this topic, using an outward sign that is a humbling experience in itself. It is a courageous thing to do for young people in a time when being well-groomed is looked down upon by many of their peers and is even sometimes a magnet for being victimized by bullying behavior. I also applaud everything else they do to help unborn children, as well as their charitable efforts for those in need, including soup kitchens and fundraisers.

KB
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KB 02/23/12 - 11:29 am
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To the broad street narrow

To the broad street narrow mind: if you feel anti-abortion movement has anything to do with the "republicans taking over church", you could broaden your horizons and do some research about pro-life in the countries where there are no republicans.
As a side note: these children/youth are not "trained" to think this way...they are RAISED to have values and to stand up for them regardless of how unpopular they are and how ugly some people may be to them.

kiwiinamerica
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kiwiinamerica 02/23/12 - 11:39 am
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America has embraced the Grim
Unpublished

America has embraced the Grim Reaper and the anti-life mentality in all its forms. This will not end well.

As for anti-abortion activism and feeding the poor, of course folks, it's not an either/or situation. The Catholic Church is concerned for those who are poor and needy at ALL stages of life. Defending the rights of the unborn does not require one to neglect those who have fallen on hard times. The Church speaks up for both. The poorest and most dependent of all, are those in the womb who have nobody to speak for them.

Do we perhaps think that these unborn are unimportant to God? Do we perhaps think that their blood does not cry out to him?

"Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.
Jeremiah 1:5

God bless Aquinas and the Catholic Church as it plows a lonely furrow against the "culture of death".

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