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Kindergarten students raise over $1,800

Woodson Kindergarten Center Principal Jessica Cabeen hands The Hormel Institute Communications Representative Tim Ruzek a check for more than $1,800. The students at Woodson raised the money during their third annual penny drive. Parents and school staff also helped with the drive. Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Woodson Kindergarten Center Principal Jessica Cabeen hands The Hormel Institute Communications Representative Tim Ruzek a check for more than $1,800. The students at Woodson raised the money during their third annual penny drive. Parents and school staff also helped with the drive. Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Woodson Kindergarten Center students got a new look at their principal Friday when she dyed her hair pink.

Principal Jessica Cabeen’s blonde hair was temporarily pink Friday after the Woodson kindergarteners raised more than $1,800 for Paint the Town Pink and The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research.

Woodson Kindergarten Principal Jessica Cabeen gets her hair sprayed pink by Administrative Assistant Lisa Bellrichard (left) and teacher Chris Kasak after the kindergarten critters third year of collecting pennies raised more than $1,800 for Paint the Town Pink cancer research. Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Woodson Kindergarten Principal Jessica Cabeen gets her hair sprayed pink by Administrative Assistant Lisa Bellrichard (left) and teacher Chris Kasak after the kindergarten critters third year of collecting pennies raised more than $1,800 for Paint the Town Pink cancer research. Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

“We really challenged them this year to give as much as they could, and if they raised a certain amount — which was $1,000 — the pink hair would happen,” Cabeen said.

She was excited to see the students — with some help from parents and staff — raise well over the $1,000. Last year, the students raised about $800 through the penny drive.

“With 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds, [it’s] just unbelievable,” Cabeen said. “The amount of giving that these kids are willing to do at such a young age really makes us all feel happy about what we’re bringing our community.”

The drive focused on pennies, but it also collected other coins, some cash and checks. Cabeen was glad to see so many students eagerly participate in the drive. Even if they only brought in ten pennies, she said the students were very excited to donate them.

“A lot of our kids don’t have much, but they gave what they could,” she said.

Woodson Kindergarten Principal Jessica Cabeen gets her hair sprayed pink after the kindergarten critters third year of collecting pennies raised $1,700 for Paint the Town Pink cancer research. Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Woodson Kindergarten Principal Jessica Cabeen gets her hair sprayed pink after the kindergarten critters third year of collecting pennies raised $1,700 for Paint the Town Pink cancer research. Jenae Hackensmith/jenae.hackensmith@austindailyherald.com

Cabeen has been happy to be a part of Paint the Town Pink these last three years, and she doesn’t foresee it ending any time soon.

“We really wanted to be a part of our community,” she said. “And this was just a great way for us to do that because the Austin community’s given Woodson so much — including new spaces within the last few years — that this is our way of giving back.”

“[Cancer] hits all of us,” she added. “When we talk with the kids here at school many of them have had stories of having cancer affect their lives even at this young of an age, so it’s nice to be able to give something and make it really meaningful for them.”

As for her pink hair, Cabeen said she didn’t know whether the students or the parents enjoyed it more. She had it done before school to ensure the most people got a glimpse of it while she helped students get off the buses.