Michael Towers wins No Shave November


Shaivi Shah

Advisor of Relay for Life, Coffey, stands in front of bulletin board.

Shaivi Shah, Staff Writer

Run by Relay for Life, Westford Academy’s second No Shave November contest has ten male participants fundraising for the largest beard. The money raised will be going to the American Cancer Society. Jim Antonelli, David Delong, Ned Greene, Timothy Knittel, Wayne Kotary, Erik Ruhmann, Scott St. Denis, Michael Towers, and Anthony Brown are the ten male contestants that participated in the fundraiser. Towers, Theatre Arts teacher, won by raising the most money, and shaved his beard into a fun mustache this week.

“I was surprised because I was assured that there was a late push for Herr Welch,” Towers said. “Also, I laughed because I knew that the next stage of shaving would be a bit ridiculous.”

Towers participated in the contest because he was asked to do so by a student and wanted to do anything to contribute to the efforts of cancer research.

“There is so much power in a student asking a teacher specifically,” Towers said. “I interpret that as, ‘I see you as a collaborator and as someone who is important in my life and my growth. Most importantly, you are someone who I want to spend time and a journey with.'”

The fundraiser is a part of a bigger event, “Movember”. The annual event incorporates growing mustaches and beards to raise awareness of men’s health issues, including prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and men’s mental health and suicide throughout the month of November. 

WA’s Spanish Teacher, St. Denis, has participated in this program before he even worked at WA. He started the event in 2006 and found it to be an efficient way to unify colleagues and students. This year marks Senor St. Denis’s ninth consecutive year that he has been cancer free.

“I was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, and since then, it’s become more of a staple in my life to try to do whatever I can to get early detection word out,”St. Denis said. “It’s important that we continue to be vigilant in what we’re doing.”

Advisor of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Club, Lauren Coffey, took over the contest for this year. 

“I am a cancer survivor. During the pandemic, I was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Coffey said. “So I was familiar with Relay for Life because when my daughter was here at Westford Academy, she participated in Relay for Life. It seemed like a natural thing to get involved in.”

Sophomores Megan Piendak, Lana Koser, and Alexa Pantoja are the students behind the curtain for the No Shave November fundraiser.

“I’m very happy to be involved in Relay for Life, because I do think we are making a difference,” Piendak said. “It’s something that a lot of students and teachers in the school can relate to.”