“My students mean more to me than my hair.” That’s what Texas kindergarten teacher Shannon Grimm said in a Facebook live video explaining why she cut her long hair into a pixie cut. Shannon loved her long hair and admits that she feels a little self-conscious with short hair, but the reasoning behind her makeover is one she feels strongly about: standing in solidarity with a student of hers named Prisilla.
Prisilla was scared to come to school because her classmates made fun of her short hair and said she looks like a boy.
Grimm talked to her students, explaining that gender has nothing to do with what your hair looks like—and that what matters most is who you are on the inside—but she didn’t feel it made enough of an impact.
So she decided to make a bold statement—and teach a lasting lesson—by chopping off her hair to look like Prisilla’s.
When Grimm debuted her new haircut, her own son told her she looked like a boy, mimicking the taunts her students directed at Prisilla. This just made Grimm more adamant that she had made the right decision.
Because, just as a “bikini body”—as the feminist memes say—is any body that wears a bikini, a “girl’s haircut” is any haircut worn by a girl. Short, long, curly, straight; blonde, brunette, red or blue; braided or buzzed off—gender is not defined by hair.
And childhood bullying leaves lasting scars, often well into adulthood. Childhood is a scary time, where no one wants to stand out and be picked apart, least of all for being or looking “different”. If only we all had a teacher like Grimm to stand up for us and make us stand a little taller ourselves, childhood—and adulthood—would be a kinder, gentler time.
That’s why Grimm is the latest winner of our Random Acts of Trophy-ness “Show Us Your Sue” award. Her customized trophy reads: “The Cutting-Edge Kindness Award: Snipping Away at Classroom Bullying”.
There’s a Trophy For That
When we started our monthly Random Acts of Trophy-ness campaign four and a half years ago, it was precisely to reward people like Grimm.
Originally inspired by the Sue Heck character of the sitcom The Middle, we set out to reward underdogs and everyday heroes with shiny trophies.
We’re a trophy company, so we’re used to making trophies for sports stars and talented thespians. And we love it.
But we couldn’t help noticing that people do trophy-worthy things every day—like being kind and inspiring others—without much acclaim.
Our “Show Us Your Sue” namesake, for instance, inspired her entire graduating class with her positive nature and can-do attitude. Sue Heck was never the most talented, was always a little quirky and clumsy. She wasn’t the typical “trophy recipient”. But just like there’s no “typical” beach body or girl’s haircut, there’s “typical” trophy recipient—or shouldn’t be!—and we set out to change that.
Everyday kindness matters. Boosting a girl’s confidence and standing up to bullies matters. And there should always be a trophy for that!
In her Facebook live video, Grimm said that she can’t be there to protect her students after they leave school, can’t tuck them into bed knowing they’re safe, as she does with her own children. But she can do everything in her power to make sure they feel safe and supported in school, hoping they’ll take her kindness lessons home with them.
She says “I don’t want my students to ever feel like their confidence is down, that they don’t want to come to school because of the way people look at them and say things to them. I want them to come to school and love being at school.”
Priscilla, for one, is grateful. She loves the matching hair bows Grimm bought for the two of them, and even presented Grimm with a medal for being her hero at a recent school board meeting.
Team Trophy Central is grateful, too. Thank you, Shannon Grimm for putting Priscilla’s confidence above your vanity (and by the way, we think your pixie cut is as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside!) Thank you for teaching Prisilla and those who taunted her what it means to be brave, what it means to stand up to bullies. And thank you for teaching your students that looks don’t define us. You are the epitome of trophy-worthy in our eyes, and we know Sue Heck would agree.
Trophy Central readers: Do YOU know an everyday hero who inspires? Someone who makes the world a kinder, gentler place just by being part of it? Then “Show Us Your Sue”! Nominate the next recipient of our monthly Random Acts Of Trophy-ness “Show UsYour Sue” award in the comments section below or on Facebook or Twitter using our #ShowUsYourSue hashtag. We can’t wait to reward your nominee with a special shiny trophy!