A bet & a look for change: Student, school counselor team up for good cause


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — A conversation in the cafeteria turned into a friendly wager and a bit of a look for change for one local counselor.

Indian Trail 5th Grader Spencer Long said he was bored and looking for a challenge. He decided he wanted to raise money for the Red Cross and give himself some extra incentive.

“My goal was to raise $650, but I ended up going $720 for Red Cross,” said Spencer. “Some of that went local to the chapter.”

Spencer didn’t embark on the mission alone. He asked his school counselor, Garrett McDonald, to enter into a friendly bet.

“I was walking around at lunch doing my lunch supervision, and he started talking, ‘would you dress up or would you shave your eyebrows if I raised this money,'” said McDonald.

After a little negotiating, they settled on McDonald shaving his beard.

McDonald didn’t think too much of it, but Spencer was hard at work.

“Every now and then he would say like, ‘Hey, I got some money this weekend,” said McDonald. “And I’d be like, ‘OK, that’s great.’ Then his mom emails me closer to the time and she’s like, ‘Hey, he’s worked really hard.’ I had no idea it was as serious and as hard-working as it was.”

Just four weeks later, Spencer exceeded his goal and McDonald shaved his beard in front of Spencer’s class.

“We need to make a really big deal about this,” said McDonald. “I got with Collin Brooks, our media relations person for Johnson City Schools, and I got with our PE teacher, and we kind of made a big deal about it in his gym class. He worked really hard, so we wanted to make sure everybody saw that.”

Spencer said his classmates had a little doubt he’d reach the goal, but were excited when he did and that McDonald followed through.

“They were just shocked that he was shaving his beard,” said Spencer.

McDonald said the efforts change has sparked a lot of conversations with both students and people in the community.

“A lot of kids don’t know Spencer, they just don’t cross paths with him because of such a big school,” said McDonald. “I’d say you know, there’s this kid in Redfox Hall, and he set a goal and he met the goal, so I shaved my beard.”

McDonald said he enjoys doing lunch duty because it gives him the opportunity to connect with students. He said without that opportunity, he doesn’t think the bet would’ve happened.

Spencer and McDonald both said they’re ready to make the bet once again. McDonald said shaving his beard may be a bet designated for Spencer, if another student makes a bet with him, he may have to do a crazy hair-do or something else.

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