Faculty and staff at Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School in Shirley put on a St. Baldrick’s fundraiser Friday to raise money to support childhood cancer research in honor of one of their own: Frankie Mattera, a fifth-grade student who is now in remission.

Jon Germer, a fifth-grade teacher at Woodhull who two years ago was matched up with Frankie in a buddy program set up by the school’s principal, said he’s always known Frankie to stay positive in school.

“I was lucky enough to be partnered with Frankie,” Germer said. “You would have no idea he was fighting the fight of his life in kindergarten and first grade. He’s just amazing.”

Frankie is now in Germer’s class.

Today, eight people from the community and faculty volunteered to have their heads shaved, including Germer, 28.

Oh, there was one more volunteer: Frankie, who’s headed to middle school next year.

Frankie’s mom, Nicole, looking out into the crowd of students and faculty, said she was “so grateful” for everyone’s support. “It’s amazing,” she said.

William Floyd High School Barbering Academy students did the shaving, which met with screams of delight from students in the gymnasium.

The fundraiser has garnered more than $1,200 as of Friday evening.

Germer said the event was an opportunity “to send Frankie off to middle school the right way.”

The volunteers

  • Brian Caffrey, husband of teacher Elizabeth Caffrey
  • Bob DeSantis, school psychiatrist
  • Jon Germer, fifth-grade teacher
  • Frankie Mattera, fifth-grade student
  • Chris Miranda, music teacher
  • Chris Mocera, physical education teacher
  • Mike Murphy, fourth-grade teacher
  • Chris Sanchez, Suffolk Police Officer
  • Mike Schiavone, custodian