October 31st: the day when kids and teens navigate through the streets dressed in costumes, parents throw Halloween parties, some houses get egged and others get toilet papered. This is also the day where some men stand in front of a mirror with a razor in their hand, looking at their five o’clock shadow, their stubble or even a full beard and mustache.
The 31st of October would be the last day that they shave their facial hair until the first day of December. This is because these men are participating in No Shave November, a month-long journey in which these participants refrain from shaving in order to spark conversation and raise awareness for prostate cancer.
This is the first year that BVH has decided to organize the big production of No Shave November. Teachers at Bonita Vista High saw this event as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for their students. One of their main motivations is that half of the students that they associate with on a daily basis are young men, who could possibly be at risk for prostate cancer and according to the American Cancer Society, 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“Coach Murphy and I wanted to raise awareness [for men’s health]. We wanted to make sure that guys understood that they need to check for testicular cancer once a month and do a self-exam,” physical education teacher Leo Hsu said.
Teachers and other staff members have previously done No Shave November but did not publicize their involvement to the student body. This year, the publicized participation of staff aims to inform students of the purpose of this movement.
“The main reason I am participating is to encourage men to take the steps like getting checkups, improving their diet, and things like that. Also, on our campus it’s a good opportunity for teachers to build comradery,” AP U.S. History teacher Don Dumas said.
Although the involvement of teachers in No Shave November is partially to foster community building, the main focus is not to participate in a trend but to make an impact on the student body.
“This is my first time participating with meaning. There may have been other times where things will become a viral phenomenon where people don’t really know what they’re doing, like the ice bucket challenge. I feel like in the past if I would have done it, it would’ve been like ‘No Shave November alright sounds good’ as opposed to taking time [and] figuring out that it’s a thing I’m happy to raise awareness for and to be apart of, ” IB Coordinator Jared Phelps said.
Rather than having this schoolwide men’s health awareness take place as a trend, the staff members participating wish to send a message to the students by refraining from shaving. Young men are being delegated to be aware of their body and make sure that their physical and mental well being is at a healthy level.
“There was a time where no one really knew about breast cancer and now you see everyone wearing pink and you know that they’re looking to find a cure and that things are happening. It started off with awareness. For the guys, that’s where we’re at right now, just trying to raise awareness,” Hsu said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the lack of public knowledge on men’s health issues only allows for diseases like cancer to affect even more men. However, if awareness is spread more, it will prevent further ignorance on these topics.
“Eventually we’d like to set up a donation type of activity or funds so that we can support some of the cancer societies, we’re trying to work things out with the ASB and hopefully next year we can have a donations box,” Hsu said.
With the help of others, men’s physical and mental health can be emphasized. According to several BVH staff, bringing awareness to a cause is helpful no matter who it comes from, positively impacting the level at which future generations are informed of health risks. Members of the BVH community hope to pursue this goal in November of 2017 and to continue to do so in November’s beyond.
“It’s always great when people participate in causes that don’t necessarily affect them directly. I think it’s admirable when people do things for the benefit of others for they seemingly have no personal thing to gain,” Dumas said.