Several male faculty members at Farmington Middle School have spent November shying away from their razors and allowing their beards to grow wild for a cause.

For the past month, seven teachers and the principal at the school have banded together to participate in "No Shave November" in hopes to raise cancer awareness.

“This is a unique way to raise cancer awareness,” said Dustin Washam, an instructor at the middle school. “Basically, we encourage people not to shave during the month of November, and the money they would have spent on shaving products for the month...you donate that amount" to organizations working in the fight against cancer.

The middle school has taken a little different approach to the fundraiser. Washam and the other participants - including Michael Bowles, Trevor Cunningham, Scott Doty, Jared Howe, Matt Kasper, Principal Dustin Jenkerson and Mike Reeves, all donated $20 each at the very beginning of the month.

During the month, Washam took pictures of each participant and his progress in growing a beard. At the end of the month, he will post their pictures on cans and put them on display in the cafeteria for the students to make a donation to their favorite beard or teacher.

“Over the years, we have tried this three other times, and the longest days are right after Thanksgiving,” said Howe. “I am definitely ready to shave it off. I have it marked on my calendar. But, I do like the fundraising side to it this year.

"We have more students who are ready to participate and more of the gentlemen at the school participating as well. That is really the best part – supporting the cause.”

For Jenkerson, participating in an event like this has always been fun for him.

“I have done this before but not at this school,” said Jenkerson, who is in his first year as principal at the school. “But, it is always a good idea to get involved with events like this. They are fun, and the kids really think it’s fun and they get excited.”

According to Reeves, the students were interested in what teachers would make it to the end of the month. Additionally, they were not afraid to critique the new look their teachers were sporting.

“The overall look is not me," Reeves said, jokingly. "I knew I would have some grey, but I never thought I would have so much grey. But it has been worth it, and the students have been a lot of fun. They aren’t afraid to tell you what they think – good or bad – but it’s been worth it.”

The bearded staff members aren’t the only ones at the school who are trying to raise cancer awareness. Tied to "No Shave November," a student-driven dodge ball tournament has also been orchestrated.

“Each team has to pay $40 to participate and those funds will be added to the same fund,” Washam said. “The winner of the tournament will then play a team of teachers.”

No matter which teacher raises the most money or what team wins the tournament, each of the men who grew a beard all came to the same conclusion.

“It was fun, and it was a good way to raise cancer awareness,” said Jenkerson. “But come Dec. 1, it’s gone.”

Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at cvaughn@farmingtonpressonline.com

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