Bushy Blazers grow long for donations


Feb. 25, 2009, 2 p.m. | By Fran Djoukeng | 11 years, 9 months ago

SGA sponsors a quirky contest for children's charity


A variety of forms and contours roam the Blair hallways. Some don prickly spots, whereas some sport patchy areas. Others go thick and dark, red and curly, and scruffy and wild. Some barely measure a few centimeters in diameter and few are lengthy. A small number are well-kept and untangled, while furry, shaggy borderline unsightly ones can be found. No matter the volume, shape, trim or surface, these hairy chins will unite together for charity.

Beards are the newest feature working as the groundwork for a charitable fundraiser sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA), who initiated a beard-growing competition for Blazers in which all proceeds will be donated to "Save the Children," a non-profit organization that aids young people in third-world countries and disadvantaged nations. The association's abnormal challenge will reward winners with gift cards and gadgets and ultimately assist underprivileged kids.

The idea for this altruistic project came directly from Blair students and the SGA responded to the creative concept. According to SGA sponsor and English teacher Jennifer Craft, Blazers proposed the theme and the SGA agreed to advance the cause. "Several students requested the contest because they wanted to help and as a club we try to support students," Craft says.

The contest officially began this week after several postponements. To enter into the contest, each participant had to raise a minimum of $10 from one or more sponsors. Currently, a total of five Blazers are fully engaged in the contest and some participants have already donated more than the required amount for entry.

For senior Sam Barth, a couple reasons influenced his decision to enter the charity contest. "It's kind of a macho thing. Still, I'm happy to do it for charity." Barth also has a plan to grow a beard unlike any other. "I'll just go home and for 10 minutes just visualize the growth," he says happily.

Senior Greg Vogel, also among the contestants, has a sizeable lead in the competition. "I already have eight sponsors and some are teachers from Blair, including Ms. Taylor and Ms. Jeral. I've raised $45 so far," he says.

Throughout the contest, each person must continue to collect donations from anyone, including neighbors, friends and relatives while growing a beard. "It's a different charity idea and we encourage everyone to raise as much [money] as possible," Brown says.

Although the SGA hopes to raise several hundred dollars, given the limited number of contestants they predict a lesser amount. "We would like around $500 but we probably won't raise more than $200 just because not many people are participating," Brown says.

At the end of the contest in mid-March, participants will attend an awards ceremony in the SGA office for donation collection and distribution of prizes. Members of the SGA will judge the students' beards in several categories including "Most Volume" and "Coolest Design." There will also be a grand prize for the bearded boy who raised the most money. Winners will most likely receive gift cards from restaurants, including Potbelly and Chipotle, and an iPod will possibly be the grand prize.

Vogel is fairly confident he will win a prize. "The other guys don't stand a chance."

The SGA is ready to the see the progress of this charity challenge, but members are focused on the goal. "I'm very excited. It's a fun and new way of raising money that will, at the end of the day, help children in need," Deputy Vice President junior Sam Zucker says.

Bushy Blazers are profiled below:

Eliot Gold, senior

Photo: Senior Eliot Gold.

Experience: "Not too much. I can't really grow a beard that connects on the sides of my mouth."

Strategy: "Cheat? I will definitely eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to help grow it faster. I'll use lotion to make the hair stay moist."

Beard Budding: "I'm not sure. It will probably take me two weeks."

Sponsor(s): Mr. Shindel

Rutvij Pandya, senior

Photo: Senior Rutvij Pandya.

Experience: "I've always grown it. I just grew a beard over the summer."

Strategy: "I can't reveal too much. Maybe I'll try to intimidate the others or wait until they're sleeping and shave theirs off."

Beard Budding: "A lot is expected of me. This is something fun I want to try. I'll grow as much as I can because it's for a good cause."

Sponsor(s): Mr. Charles

Tom Clement, senior

Photo: Senior Tom Clement.

Experience: "Yeah, I've had a beard for the past two years. This will be my first time shaving in a while."

Strategy: "Just want to have fun."

Beard Budding: "Maybe an inch. I'm going for coolest beard."

Sponsor(s): Ms. Smrek, Ms. Lee

Sam Barth, senior

Photo: Senior Sam Barth.

Experience: "Over a summer in El Salvador I grew a beard and did not shave at all."

Strategy: "I'm just getting as many people to sponsor as possible - my friends, teachers, and my mom too."

Beard Budding: "I'm going for longest. It'll be scraggly for sure."

Sponsor(s): Ms. Ivy

Greg Vogel, senior

Photo: Senior Greg Vogel.

Experience: "I have more experience than the other contenders."

Strategy: "I've been training for a while. I have a good chance of taking home the prize for longest beard. I'm just going to let it all come out."

Beard Budding: "I have a good chance of growing a pretty serious beard. The other guys will maybe have a quarter inch. I can see myself with an inch long beard. It'll probably get to be three or four inches."

Sponsor(s): 10, including Ms. Jeral, Ms. Taylor and Mr. Whitacre

Greg Friedman, senior

Photo: Senior Greg Friedman.

Experience: "For the past year I have been growing a beard off and on, but it has not been successful."

Strategy: "I think I will just let it all grow out for a month and just wait for improvement. I don't think I will get any awards but if there's any for neck beard, definitely."

Beard Budding: "I'm hoping to get the beard above the chin. I can maybe get something better than that. In two weeks, I can see my beard growing about two centimeters."

Sponsor(s): A friend.

Editor's Note: Rutvij Pandya is a staff writer for Silver Chips print edition.




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