Class of 1986
Wheaton High Students bring Style, and Confidence, to fight against Breast Cancer.
Peggy McEwan/The Gazette - Lisa’s Lids founder Liza Takounakis-Zarou, fifth from right, stands with Wheaton High School students Zakia Anna, Janee Massie, Bria Graham, Marketta Lewis, Sambo Kanneh and Emani Davis.
After learning wig-making at Sports Academy, a pilot after-school program, the teens donated their wigs to Liza’s Lids, which supplies head coverings to cancer patients in current radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
By Peggy McEwan, Published: April 3,2013
It’s called a sports academy, but it includes much more. Like wig-making.
Students at the Wheaton High School Sports Academy — a pilot after-school program offered by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation at five high schools — learned to make wigs. Then they donated 12 to Liza’s Lids, a local nonprofit group that supplies head coverings to patients suffering hair loss from cancer treatment.
The hair design class was taught by Patricia Prather, a Recreation Department activities coordinator who also is a licensed cosmetologist. The 20 girls enrolled in the class — which met weekly from October through the end of last month — learned about more than hair, Prather said.
“We talked about self-esteem, empowerment, makeup and giving back to the community,” Prather said.
Janee Massie, a Wheaton junior, said she joined the program to have something to do after school that would keep her out of trouble and help her learn something new.
Emani Davis, a ninth-grader, said she, too, joined to keep busy. She liked the wig-making class so much that she plans to look into the cosmetology program offered at the trade school Thomas Edison School of Technology, also in Wheaton, and make working with hair a career.
The students made their wigs by gluing strips of artificial hair onto a base. They used different lengths and varied the color of the hair to make the wigs look natural. They got to cut and style the finished products.
Marketta Lewis, a senior, said she had a passion for styling hair when she joined the program. Her finished wig was long and dark, absent the different colors many of her classmates used.
“I love colors, and if I was going to make a wig, I wanted it to stand out from everybody else’s,” Lewis said. “I was actually proud of myself when I saw the finished product. I thought, ‘Yeah!’?”
Liza Takounakis-Zarou, the founder of Liza’s Lids, is a Wheaton resident, a 1986 graduate of Wheaton High and a cancer survivor. She launched the nonprofit group in October 2012.
Liza went to the last class of the sports program, on March 21, to accept the wigs and tell the students about why cancer patients need head coverings.
“When a woman is going through treatment, she still has to go out, to work, to the store, to take her children places,” Takounakis-Zarou said. “Wigs are in high demand.”
Liza’s Lids donates hats, scarves and wigs to Montgomery County residents undergoing cancer treatment. The group works with the “Look Good Feel Better” program, which aims to improve the self-esteem and quality of life of women in cancer treatment.
“This is my first large group of [donated] wigs,” Takounakis-Zarou said. “There is a great variety in length, style and modern color. They did a really nice job.”
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