When David Robinson tried to brainstorm a way to get his high school students more involved in the school’s annual fall festival, he very likely did not think it would end with his hair and beard dyed a very bright shade of pink.
That is, however, exactly what happened to the 62-year-old social studies teacher from Spokane Valley, Wash., and he couldn’t be happier about it.
“I’m just tickled,” Robinson told GoodMorningAmerica.com. “My five classes collected 46 pounds of candy. That’s a lot of candy.”
Robinson and his students at East Valley High School came up with the idea to wager a bet over how much candy they could collect for the school’s fall festival after hearing on the morning announcements that a school club was selling pink hair extensions for national breast cancer awareness month.
“One of the kids said, ‘Would you entertain dying your beard pink if we brought in 20 pounds of candy?’” Robinson said. “Then it escalated to my hair, and I finally said, ‘Here’s the deal. I’ll dye both my hair and my beard for one week if you bring in 45 pounds of candy.’”
Last Friday, on the final day of the candy drive, Robinson’s students’ candy collection weighed in at 46 pounds.
On Monday, Robinson, a 24-year military veteran who is retiring this year after 15 years of teaching, showed up at school with both his hair and beard a neon shade of pink.
“They know that, having been an Air Force survival instructor, any time I put my coin on the table I will follow through,” Robinson said. “I told them, ‘I’m game,’ and this is my penance.”
Robinson has the good fortune of being married to a beautician who has willingly spray-painted his hair and beard pink every morning this week so he did not have to permanently dye his hair.
“She’s been doing it every morning,” he said. “I have a funeral I have to go to on Saturday, and I told her I don’t want to go with pink hair.”
Robinson said that even though candy was what, figuratively, turned him pink, his personal motivation, and the reason he didn’t mind sporting the pink look, was to bring awareness to cancer.
Robinson’s mother died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma three decades ago, when Robinson was in his 30s.
“It was horrid, “he said of watching his mom die of the disease. “I thought, boy, this is the perfect opportunity to do something that I should have done a long time ago.”
“One high school teacher doesn’t really stick out very much,” Robinson said. “But all of a sudden everybody in the high school knows me and they also know about the cause, which is great.”
Robinson said he planned to “keep an eye” on the high school this time next year, after he retires, to see which teacher follows in his footsteps by also going pink. He also plans to continue his mission of giving back in retirement, albeit with his natural gray hair color.
“It comes time in a person’s life to pay back to society what society has given you, and that’s what I have on the horizon,” Robinson said.