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No-Shave November participants spread cancer awareness

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On November 1, sixteen participants showed up to Richard Montgomery completely clean-shaven, committing to a ban on shaving their facial hair for the rest of the month. For these sixteen participants, this was not simply a fashion statement–they shaved to spread cancer awareness. Many cancer patients lose hair while battling their illness, so No-Shave November is a unique way to shed light on the issue and raise money for cancer research.

Every year, the SGA Executive Board organizes No-Shave November. The success of this event required the time and effort of the organizing committee, participants, and the school community. “There were many moving parts for this event! First, we had to advertise and get enough student and teacher participants and take a picture of them clean-shaven before they grew their beards,” said senior Molly Stamets, one of the student organizers on the Spirit Committee.

Taking the opportunity to show off their beard-growing talents and raise money for cancer research, students and teachers alike participated in the event. “I decided to participate when I was prompted by some friends who recognized my innate ability to grow facial hair and thought of the good cause that the money I’d raise would go to,” senior Bilal Saleem, one of the student participants, said.

As the month went on, participants began collecting money for the National Cancer Institute, going around school requesting donations from their peers for their donation boxes. “My favorite part was when my teacher, Mr. McDonald, regardless of having his own box, came over during Econ and donated to me,” Saleem said.

This friendly competition to grow the best facial hair and collect the most donations helped draw attention to the cause and keep the event engaging. No-Shave November participant and economics and statistics teacher Mr. McDonald said, “I’m always up for a challenge, and I knew there would be lots of strong competition. I wanted to see if I could hold my own against those guys. My favorite part was the camaraderie we had between the different participants and the trash talk in the hallways.” 

My favorite part was the camaraderie we had between the different participants and the trash talk in the hallways.”

— Mr. Mcdonald

On the last day of November, the Spirit Committee collected donation boxes and counted the earnings of each participant. “The participants raised exactly $878.39! We’ve had similar amounts more or less each year,” Stamets said.

The following Monday, December 3, the sixteen participants lined up along Main Street during lunch for judging. Seven teacher judges voted on their favorite beard. “Mr. McDonald, who won for the best facial hair, definitely deserved it in my opinion,” Stamets said. “He even had a great cowboy hat to match.”

During these final festivities, the Spirit Committee also measured the participants’ beards, awarding those who had grown the longest one. “Mr. McDonald won best-styled beard overall, Sami Kirmani won for the longest beard, and Kevin H. won for the most money raised, almost $400! Neal M. got an honorable mention for the money he raised as well,” Stamets said.

Since No-Shave November is an annual event, those interested in supporting cancer research and have the ability to grow facial hair should consider participation next November. However, there is no need to grow out a beard or wait until next year, since anyone may also donate directly to the National Cancer Institute and similar organizations any time of the year. “Look on GoFundMe, there are countless medicinal scientists with small platforms looking for grants and recognition, so help them out!” Saleem said.

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No-Shave November participants spread cancer awareness