A Mohawk haircut for St. Paddy’s Day kept the Whittier Elementary students rollin’ in the aisles.

After losing a bet to his student body, Principal JP Gallagher endured a mostly shaven head topped with a splash of green in front of a packed gym Monday morning.

“I decided to get a great Mohawk with the Pipers here,” said Gallagher after the entire student body watched the Pipes and Drums of the Edmonton Police Service performed. “A little humility is all right, but the kids deserve it.”

The students raised $10,391 in raffle ticket sales for the Whittier Parent Teacher Organization. Almost half of it came in the last week or two, said Katie Huff, self-described “cruise director” for the Pipers.

The students cheered wildly as Tara Edwards, stylist and Whittier parent, shaved the sides of Gallagher’s head and dyed the longer Mohawk top green.

Gallagher lost a similar bet last year, when students duct-taped him to a wall.

“Whenever the PTO comes to me to help the kids, I can’t say no,” he said.

The eight Pipers, meanwhile, made the rounds Monday, visiting 24 venues around town in three days. Decked out in kilts, shiny medals and patches, the Pipers have high-stepped it to Butte for 30 years straight.

Ted Soltys, piper and retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police colonel, has visited for 13 years, including a few Butte Fourth of Julys, too.

“The kids are so great – they really appreciate us,” said Soltys. “We enjoy coming down over years. We’ve made really good friends here.”

As the pipers mingled with the students, even younger kids celebrated.

Watching the bigger kids cheer on their principal and the pipers, sideline observer Tyleigh Edwards, 2, got into the act.

“Whoo-hoo!” cheered the toddler, joining in the St. Paddy’s Day festivities.

Contact Birkenbuel at Renata.Birkenbuel@mtstandard.com or 406-496-5512.

Education Reporter who also covers features at The Montana Standard, I am a Cascade-Ulm-Great Falls native. Originally a sports writer, I wrote for the Missoulian and the Great Falls Tribune. I freelanced for The Seattle Times and other NW publications.

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