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IHS shows support for student in need

Ironton student Bethany Bibb takes delight as she shaves Principal Joe Rowe’s signature goatee during a special assembly in her honor Friday at Ironton High School.

The students and staff at Ironton High School know how to come together to help a friend, and right now that friend is fellow junior, Bethany Bibb.

Bethany was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 3, and is on a waiting list for a double lung transplant, which is expected to cost $35,000. So far, $17,000 has been raised.

The students and staff at Ironton High School were able to donate around $1,300 on Thursday, which they called Bethany Bibb Day. Money was raised several ways.

A “Chain of Hope” lined the gymnasium floor, with links purchased by the students. Each link was 10 cents or 12 links could be purchased for $1. A total of 3,200 links were sold.

One of the highlights of the day for the students was seeing Principal Joe Rowe get his goatee shaved and Assistant Principal Jeff Hairston get his head shaved. That was the incentive if the goal of $500 was reached.

“We set a goal, but in all honesty, I was going to allow it to happen,” Hairston said. “The students worked hard and gave their own money.”

The junior class, Bethany’s class, bought the most, more than 1,600 links. Bethany chose a name of a junior class student from a drawing who shaved Hairston’s head in front of the gymnasium, with applause and cheers from the students. Rowe watched, smiling, telling him, “It’s beautiful, it’s beautiful.” Then it was his turn.

The senior class bought a total of 1,143 tickets, and Bethany chose a name from the drawing to shave Rowe’s goatee.

Bethany was able to help with the shaving of both men.

Money was also raised by the students contributing $1 each for a volleyball game between the students and the teachers. The teachers won the games against the freshmen and against the juniors, while the students won the games for the sophomore and the senior class games. Many of the players and spectators were wearing t-shirts that said “I am a ray of hope for Bethany,” creating a sea of green in support.

The staff contributed over the holidays in an additional way.

“Instead of buying gifts for Christmas for staff and administration, we put that money in a pot and added that in,” said secretary Theresa Bowen.

People couldn’t say enough about Bethany and about the support the students were showing her.

Katie Cunningham, sophomore, used to be in band with Bethany.

“I think it’s a good thing,” Cunningham said of the support. “It’s going to a good cause and she really needs it and really deserves it.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” Rowe said. “It’s a wonderful expression of the love they have for their fellow student. Bethany is a special girl. I’m humbled by the outpouring of love the classmates have shown to her.”

“I think the best thing is that these students have really taken this to heart,” Hairston said. He spoke highly of Bethany.

“She is an outstanding student, and a hard worker,” Hairston said. “She is very bright and takes pride in her education. I hope this is one step closer for her to get the transplant. She will make a fine member of this community and has a lot to offer.”

“My hope is that she can get back to some sort of normalcy,” Rowe said. “She has a zeal for life.”

Bethany was happy with the support she was getting from her fellow students.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “It feels really good.”

Her mother, Elizabeth, said Bethany is getting closer to getting the transplant.

“She’s at the top. We’re just waiting on the call.”

While Bethany was in great spirits at the event, her father, Jerry Bibb, noted the seriousness of her situation.

“She’s right at the stage,” he said. “It’s getting close.”

He said he wanted to thank everyone who has supported Bethany and their family.

“I don’t know what we’d do without the support of the community,” he said. “It’s in God’s hands.”