St. Edmond Catholic School faculty are growing beards to raise funds for Beacon of Hope men's shelter in Fort Dodge.
"It was an idea I had a few weeks ago, I started to grow a beard," Tyler Philipsen, St. Edmond English instructor, said. "I've participated in No Shave November before in college, and just had the idea that if I could get some of the male staff members to grow beards who normally don't have them, maybe we could raise money for the men's shelter in the process."
Funds were donated throughout October by students and faculty. If certain benchmarks were met, participating teachers agreed to grow or grow out their beards.
"Some of them were a little reluctant,"Philipsen said. "If they were able to raise enough money ahead of time, the students, the staff, and everyone together in the school, then certain members of our male staff will grow beards."
Three tiers were established. The first tier was teachers who already have beards, like Philipsen, and would simply grow them out.
"That's probably not as interesting to see us, so we put ourselves at the bottom," he said.
The middle tier is faculty whom the students would like to see with beards, mostly newer staff members. The top tier, the highest amount hoped to be raised for the charity, is reserved for the more reluctant faculty who have been there longer.
"Mr. (John) Howard, our administrator, people definitely wanted to see him," Philipsen said. "They'll all grow great beards throughout the month of November."
Working together and spurred by the unique incentive, students and staff easily helped raise the benchmark of $600 before Oct. 31 and even surpassed it.
"We're waiting for the final tally," Philipsen said. "I anticipate we'll be over a thousand dollars. I was very glad to see we were able to hit our goal and everybody who agreed to participate is going to have to let is grown for the month of November."
The staff enjoy the idea of growing beards for charity, Philipsen said.
"I've had a lot of both male and female staff in the hallways, as I'm walking back and forth, asking about how it's going, where are we at and 'am I going to have to do this thing or not,'" he said. "There's been a lot of buzz whether we are going to hit our mark."
The students, though, will enjoy it even more.
"They're the ones who are probably talking the most," Philipsen said. "It seems the last couple of days I've gotten to just about every period with, how are we doing? And I tell them where we're at."
John Howard, St. Edmond High School principal, supports the idea and the cause.
"I think it's an excellent idea," he said. "Mr. Philipsen has done a lot of work in promoting the program and the staff that we have are supportive, including myself."
Howard said he's excited to grow a beard this month.
"I've never done it," he said. "A lot of our staff is the same way. It's something that's good for us personally. Obviously, it's good for the Beacon of Hope. We certainly enjoy helping charities."
Charity is an important value to impart on students, Philipsen said.
"As a Catholic school, service is a big part of what we try to teach them," he said. "I think this is a prime example."