Bald middle schooler Katarina Lucardie was surprised to see some of her classmates cry after she revealed to them that she suffered from alopecia, and had been wearing a wig for a number of years.
Teachers at the 11-year-old’s school, Skyview Middle School in Colorado Springs, encouraged Lucardie to tell her peers after she approached them and admitted that she didn’t know how to make the revelation.
They then all came together to make a documentary that discussed why she didn’t have any hair, which later premiered in front of the school.
Katarina sought some assistance after she initially wrote a letter to her school counselor that stated, “I have a disease and it makes me lose my hair.”
She was born with the autoimmune skin disease, Alopecia Areata, which means that she experiences hair loss on her scalp, as well as other places on her body.
Katarina admitted that she began to spot patches of her hair on her pillow and in the shower when she was around eight-years-old. Then, by the time she was nine, she had gone completely bald.
To prevent any embarrassment, the young girl decided to wear a medium-length black wig throughout elementary school. However, when she progressed to middle school, she stated that she didn’t want to wear it anymore because it was extremely hot and irritated her head.
Katarina then decided to approach her counselor, Jennicca Mabe, to discuss her condition. Mabe was concerned that she would be bullied because of her baldness as is often the case in these situations.
After discussing a plan with other teachers and the administration at the school, they created a short documentary to explain her condition.
Katarina noted, “[Mabe] thought that if you educate people and if you tell them about things and you tell them that it isn’t contagious, that people won’t pick on me.”
Connie Sandel, Katarina’s science teacher, admitted that she was surprised that Katarina wanted to tell the other students she was bald.
“Most kids don’t come forward in middle school and do something like that,” Sandel noted. “In middle school, kids can be a little harsh, and bullying can be a problem. But I wanted to support her in what she wanted to do.”
The documentary has been shown to various groups of students this month in the school’s library. “I was sitting at the back so all these people wouldn’t be looking at me,” Katarina said. “And I watched everyone, and people were crying, and I felt sorry. I knew that maybe the teachers would cry, but I never expected that the kids would cry.”
Katarina has since stopped wearing her wig, and Sandel has confirmed that students are treating her like normal.