By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
BETTENDORF — “Shave the beard! Shave the beard!” students at Lourdes Catholic School chanted from the bleachers and gym floor Nov. 30. The students were cheering on four students who were to shave the beards of Deacon Chuck Metzger and teacher Alec Clark.
The two grew beards as part of “No Shave November,” a campaign in which men give up shaving for the month to bring about awareness of cancer and to raise funds to support cancer prevention, research and education.
Principal Jennifer Alongi thanked the two men for doing the challenge at the school for the first time. Students raised $482.21, which will be donated to the American Cancer Society. They exceeded the goal of $400.
Students Sophia Kersten and Sophia Gluba got their chance to shave Deacon Metzger. Students Jack McIntosh and Joe Walsh shaved Clark. After a glitch with one of the electric shavers, the students shaved a portion of the men’s beards as the audience cheered.
As the event concluded, Alongi asked the students to give the two men a round of applause for “being good sports.”
Clark said he decided to take the challenge when he heard Deacon Metzger was willing to do No Shave November. Having more than one person participate would make a bigger impact, Clark felt.
“I’ve never grown a beard before,” he laughed. “But if I would be asked to do this again next year, I will.”
The first two and a half weeks were a little tough, but he said after that it was no big deal.
Deacon Metzger said he did the No Shave November challenge on his own last year. “My family and my wife’s family have been affected by a lot of cancer.” This year he thought by bringing the challenge into the school he could help raise awareness.
Starting this school year, Deacon Metzger has been visiting classrooms as part of his deacon duties. So he was already in the school. He talked about cancer with students and thought the challenge “really helped get the kids get into it.” He noted there are many families who have a member with cancer or who have had cancer, and a current student with cancer. “It hits home.” He thanked Clark for joining him.
The deacon said people would come up to him at the school and on Sundays at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church to make a comment about his beard.
Like Clark, he is willing to take the challenge next year. He and Clark hope other men might join the effort.