CARBONDALE — In a show of moral and monetary support for longtime teacher and Roaring Fork High School alumna Ivone Muñoz, about two dozen students and several staff members plan to take a seat in the barber chair Friday.
Muñoz, a single mother of four, 1990 RFHS graduate and a teacher for more than 20 years in her native Carbondale, has had to step away from teaching again this fall to undergo chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
She was first diagnosed in 2012, and missed part of last school year after having surgery to remove one of her kidneys. The cancer had also metastasized to her lungs, she learned at that time.
Several fundraisers were organized last fall to help the family with medical bills and other expenses while she was unable to work.
Students and staff at RFHS are again banding together to make sure Muñoz knows they’re with her every step of the way in her battle.
The RFHS Community Buzz takes place Friday morning, for which students and eight staff members have been raising sponsorship donations and will have their hair cut, or heads shaved altogether, in a show of support for Muñoz.
Fellow RFHS teacher Wendy Boland apparently sparked the idea when she mentioned to Muñoz privately that she’d be happy to shave her head.
“It’s sort of taken on a different life,” Boland said Wednesday. “Ivone is well-loved at this school, and we know this is going to be a long, brutal fight. We wish her the best, and we want to help her in any way we can.”
RFHS Principal Drew Adams said more than $2,000 had already been raised by mid-week through the effort. Contributions can still be made, in the name of any of the participating students or staff, at a special website: www.roaringforkhighschool.blogspot.com/2013/10/community-buzz-support-team-munoz.html.
Participating staff members include Adams and Boland, Kay Bell, Hadley Hentschel, Matt Wells, Morgan Williams, Larry Williams and Ralph Young.
A special Ivone Muñoz Benefit Fund has also been set up at Alpine Bank, where contributions can be made before and continuing after the Friday event as well.
According to an article that appeared in Carbondale’s Sopris Sun last fall, Muñoz was born and raised in Carbondale, where four generations of her family have called home. Her own children now range in age from 10 to 23.
Muñoz dropped out of high school when she was 16, got married and was planning on starting a family when then-RFHS Principal Patrick Henry and former teacher Bonnie Cretti were instrumental in convincing her to complete school, according to the Sun article.
Soon after graduating from high school in 1990, Muñoz had her first child and started working as a teacher’s aide at the former Carbondale Elementary School.
While raising a family, she also went back to school to earn her bachelor’s degree from Regis University and a master’s from Grand Canyon University.
For the past 22 years, Muñoz has worked in the Roaring Fork School District as a teacher’s aide, classroom teacher, Spanish teacher and an ELL teacher at RFHS.