MMS Teachers Grow Beards, Shave Them, to Raise Money for Cancer Society

Senior Lily Weiss shaves eighth-grade teacher Dave Gordon. Credits: All photos by Bob Dumas
Assistant Principal Alex Levine got the Batman logo shaved into his beard. Credits: All photos by Bob Dumas
The BOCES cosmetology students shaved the beards of 25 MMS teachers and administrators.
Chloe Mastropolo concentrates hard while working on teacher Dan Rode's beard.

MAHOPAC, N.Y.-Things got a little hairy at Mahopac Middle School when 25 teachers had their beards shaved for a good cause last week.

Dubbed No-Shave November, MMS male faculty members and administrators grew beards throughout the month and then students voted on what designs should be shaved into the beards when cosmetology students from the BOCES Tech Center came to shave them off on Tuesday (Nov. 21). It cost the students a dollar per vote and they were able to raise more than $200 for the American Cancer Society.

The idea was the brainchild of assistant principal Starla Ciarelli, who had help from teacher and student government adviser Richard Kozera putting the event together.

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“It was really more about raising awareness,” Ciarelli said. “Raising the money was a side benefit.”

Kozera said the student government is already examining the fundraiser and looking for ways to make it better next year. He and Ciarella would like to make it an annual event.

“It was hard for students to get an idea of what it really was about until they saw it,” Ciarelli said.

The students who voted on the designs had  choices that ranged from monkey tails to the Batman logo. Having the BOCES cosmology students do the job provided great synergy between fundraising and learning.

“I thought it was a great thing for my students to be able to do for a good cause,” said Tech Center teacher Debbie Busatti, adding that she encourages students to be creative with their designs when she teaches shaving techniques.

Even principal Tom Cozzocrea and assistant principal Alex Levine were among the faculty who grew—and shaved—their beards.

“It was a little itchy,” Cozzocrea said of growing the beard, “but it was worth it to see the students so amused by our staff.”

Cosmetology student Brianna Davis, from Mahopac High School, said she and fellow students had shaved designs on bearded mannequins prior to this event.

“It was cool to be able to do something like this for a good cause,” she said.

Eighth-grade teacher Dave Gordon had a monkey tail design chosen for him and couldn’t wait for his “barber,” Lily Weiss, to complete the job.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever grown facial hair and I can’t wait to get rid of it,” he laughed. “I’m not a facial hair kind of guy.”

Levine was one of those chosen to get the Batman logo and cosmo student Alexa Byrnes was the one selected to do the job.

“It was fun to do,” she said, “and I was happy to be able to do something for such a good cause.”

Karen Thornton of Mahopac School District contributed to this article.

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