Holy Trinity Diocesan High School junior Ebony Odom is surprisingly not facing detention after spray painting her principal’s hair green during Saturday’s homecoming festivities.
That’s because Gene Fennell, the principal of the Hicksville school, willingly subjected himself to the dyeing.
To help the Titans Parents Club raise money, Fennell issued a challenge to homecoming attendees. If they donated a combined $500 during the football game against the Xavier Knights, he would dye his hair green, one of the school’s colors.
“I’ve been a Titan for 33 years, so I might as well have my hair green also,” he said.
The cash donations quickly poured in from students, parents and alumni, and during the second quarter, the field announcer broke the news that the goal had been reached.
“They were motivated,” Fennell said. “They wanted to see their principal with green hair, the little bit of hair that I have.”
After the winners of this year’s Titan Spirit Awards, Trinity’s alternative to a homecoming king and queen, were announced, Fennell knelt down at the 50-yard line and let Odom paint his hair.
“It was an honor,” said Odom, 16, of Hempstead.
Odom said that she likes that her principal is willing to have fun and forge relationships with students.
“He defeats the stereotype,” she said. “He’s a friend, but he’s also the principal.”
The money raised at the game will go toward student activities and clubs. In the past, the Titan Parents Club have used its funds to support a range of programs in the school from arts and athletics to purchasing science lab equipment, Fennell said.
Lisa Hartel Goodman, the club’s co-chair, said she wasn’t surprised that Fennell accepted the hair-dye challenge when her organization approached him with the idea.
“Mr. Fennell always goes above and beyond for the students and benefit of the school,” she said.
Since green hair violates Trinity’s dress code, Odom said she expects her principal will probably wash out the dye over the weekend.
Fennell added, “There was a great amount of spirit behind it and that’s what it was all about.”