Getting the scholarship buzz

A memorial scholarship fund and the athletic department at St. Francis High School are on the receiving end of a unique fundraiser held Sunday at a La Cañada salon.

The Bruce K. Smith Salon on Foothill Boulevard hosted a Buzz-a-Thon, offering buzz cuts for $20. Proceeds were split evenly between the Katherine Elizabeth Evans Scholarship Fund and the St. Francis Athletic Department.

Katherine Evans, 14, who attended Holy Family School in South Pasadena, died after emerging from a swimming pool at a graduation party on June 12. She would have been a freshman at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy this fall. No cause for her death has been announced.

The Evans family, clients of Smith’s salon, set up a scholarship fund for a student graduating from Holy Family school who plans to enter Sacred Heart.

Bruce Smith, who owns the La Cañada salon, said both causes are close to his heart.

“Katherine’s father is a long-time client of mine … he’s always been good to me as a client and you feel badly. I asked, ‘What can I do [in Katherine’s honor]?’” Smith recalled.

Smith also wanted proceeds from the buzz cuts to go to St. Francis Athletic Department because his nephew attends the all-male school, which is the brother school to Sacred Heart.

Members of the football team at St. Francis have to get their hair buzzed short by Aug. 15, so Smith figured he’d offer the buzz cuts and draw the support of the team.

Coincidentally, Smith’s nephew, Danny Ursitti, who plays for the Golden Knights, grew up with the Evans family. He and Katherine’s brother Matthew were in the same grade at Holy Family.

After getting their hair buzzed, Ursitti and fellow teammates walked to Sport Chalet to ask if the employees would make an announcement about the buzz-a-thon on the loud speaker.

“I like the fundraiser. We [the football team] get new stuff and I went to school with Katherine and Matthew … so I think the fundraiser is a good thing. We’re walking down the street to get more attention [for the buzz-a-thon], get more people to donate,” Ursitti said.

Smith said the event raised approximately $1000, which was less than he was hoping for. But, he said, he learned lessons he can apply when does the event again next year.

Smith’s staff donated time on their day off to cut hair for the fundraiser.

“It was a client’s daughter and we wanted to support the community,” said Tara Cross, a hairstylist at the salon. “We need to stick together and it’s fun to do work like this.”

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