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wigs-CHHS 2.jpg Teacher Donna Pollard, left, and junior Layla Owens, of South Euclid, pose with a wig Owens made for cancer patients who get support from The Gathering Place. 

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- The professional skill and art of cosmetology is to make beautiful a customer's face, hair, nails and more.

The 39 students who make up the cosmetology classes at Cleveland Heights High School, however, are going beyond all of that. A project that students are now working on relates even more to inner beauty.

"They're just loving it. You can see how much they enjoy themselves doing it," cosmetology teacher Donna Pollard said of that project, which involves students making wigs for cancer patients.

Pollard, in her 24th year at the school, decided upon the annual project two years ago after speaking with a student.

"(A student) was making a wig for her mother's friend who was dying of cancer. She asked me, 'How do you think this (wig) looks?' I said it was great, and then I thought, 'We could do a project with this.'"

Putting her money where her goal was, Pollard contributed ,000 of her own money to buy hair and supplies from a local vendor. Her students then went to work weaving the hair into small caps that fit over a patient's head. Many patients lose their hair due to chemotherapy treatments.

About 20 wigs were turned out that year to the salon at Beachwood's The Gathering Place. The non-profit The Gathering Place offers a variety of free programs and services that address the emotional, physical, spiritual and social needs of those who have been diagnosed with cancer, and their families.

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