MACOMB TOWNSHIP — There is no sacrifice too great when it comes to raising money for kids.
That being said, on Nov. 1 20 male teachers at L’Anse Creuse High School-North put away their shaving cream and razors to launch a competition to raise money for two of the district’s educational enhancement programs.
Jim Ekdahl, who teaches German at LCHS-North and is president of the L’Anse Creuse Foundation, said the “beard growing” fundraiser, called No Shave November, which concluded on Dec. 5, aimed to help the foundation’s mission and provide much-needed aid to the high school’s Link Crew program.
“Funds are raised through donations from students and other people who want the teacher to continue growing their beard,” said Ekdahl, who was participating up until Nov. 30, the day that he — and 17 of the other competitors — was eliminated as a finalist and ultimately shaved off his beard. “Many of my donations have come from students and parents.”
The two finalists still in the competition that final day were Jed Jones, a math and English teacher and coach of the JV girls’ basketball team, and Jay Seletsky, a social studies teacher and head coach of the varsity boys basketball team. Both had raised more than $800 each, but it was Seletsky who won in the end, besting Jones in the fundraising department by fewer than $10.
Seletsky and Jones said they were impressed by how the competition brought the entire school together.
“The biggest thing (was) the way everyone responded and participated in the competition,” said Seletsky. “That includes the ‘beard coaches’ and the students, as well. It was everyone getting together for a good cause.”
The “beard coaches” were more than 40 female staff members who helped the “beard growers” raise money by baking goods and selling them to other staff members and to students, some of whom did their own baking to help raise money.
“(The competition) really brought staff together. It brought us all closer,” said Jones.
Ekdahl said the fundraiser raised close to $5,000, which they plan on splitting between the Link Crew freshman transition program, in which older students team with incoming students to help them orient themselves to a new school, and the L’Anse Creuse Foundation, which supports the district with grants to teachers for special projects and scholarships for graduating seniors.
“We are planning on giving out $16,000 in teacher grants and $10,000 in scholarships this year,” Ekdahl said.
He already has teachers signed up to participate in No Shave November next year, and the goal is to exceed this inaugural year’s feat.
Until then, the entire school, the competitors’ families, and Ekdahl’s 4-year-old son, will have to adjust to the clean-shaven teachers.
“My son cried when I shaved mine off,” Ekdahl said. “He wanted me to put it back on.”
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