Ray Wishart has spent nearly 40 years at Mosley High School teaching a variety of classes, from Drafting to Advanced Placement Photography. However, no matter the subject, students all seem to remember one thing, his ponytail.
"I have people who send me comments on Facebook that graduated 20 years ago, 'hey, still got the ponytail?' It's a little thinner, a little grayer, but it's still a ponytail," Wishart said.
The ponytail has become somewhat of a legend at the high school in Lynn Haven.
Over the years, students have even attempted to make bets over the teacher's ponytail. "'If we win the baseball game, will you cut your hair?' No, it's going to take bigger than that," Wishart said.
This school year, Wishart said he'll cut his ponytail if students raise $25,000 for breast cancer research, support, and awareness.
"We've actually lost several faculty members over the last couple years to breast cancer but most recently Ms. Kim Thompson," Wishart said. Thompson was an Advanced Placement English teacher at Mosley. She lost her fight to breast cancer this school year.
"She was one of those teachers that kids just love. They had all the respect in the world for her. She was just a dynamic, energetic, convinced every kid they could succeed," Wishart said.
Wishart is teaming up with Mosley's students clubs to raise the $25,000. He's challenging each club to raise some money in honor of Thompson.
Seniors Douglas Dick and Molly Pilcher are already hard at work, although they said they can't imagine Wishart without his ponytail.
"Anyone who knows Mr. Wishart knows that that's a big part of him, kind of what he's known for," Pilcher said.
"The fact that Mr. Wishart wants to kind of sacrifice part of his identity for such a great cause. We think it's kind of funny but also really heartwarming and special," Dick said.
Students are still planning official fundraisers but are accepting donations on the Mosley High School website under Ponytail Donation to Breast Cancer.
Former students, now hairdressers, have contacted him about wanting to cut Wishart's hair. Wishart said they'll likely hold an auction for that to raise additional money.
"No doubt this summer, I'll be sporting shorter hair" Wishart said.