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Baldwin H.S. Students, Teachers Score with Playoff Beards Against Cancer

The contest serves as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life Event at the high school.

Baldwin High School's Playoff Beards Against Cancer participants. Credit: Shane Becker
Baldwin High School's Playoff Beards Against Cancer participants. Credit: Shane Becker
Now that the Pittsburgh Penguins have been eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, there'll be some fresh faces around Baldwin-Whitehall—not new faces, just freshly shaved ones.

For the third straight year, about a dozen Baldwin High School teachers and a few high school students participated in English teacher Keith Harrison's Playoff Beards Against Cancer contest, which serves as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life Event at the high school.

"The concept is about as simple as it gets," Harrison said. "We stopped shaving when the Pens did—on the day of the first Pens playoff game—and we have sought donations from students as we have endured all the whiskers and scruffiness.

"I came up with the idea just before the 2011 playoffs as an additional way to raise money for the Relay for Life."

The Penguins were eliminated in the playoffs' first round in 2011 and in 2012, which, as Harrison says, "was bad for Penguin fans but merciful for the Playoff Beards crew."

But in 2013, the Penguins marched all the way to Eastern Conference finals before losing to the Boston Bruins.

"This year, it's been great watching the Pens move through the playoffs," Harrison said during the last week of the high school's 2012-13 academic year (before the Penguins were eliminated later that week), but most of us agree that the beards are pretty much unbearable at this point.

"About half of our teacher participants, having raised some money already, just couldn't take it anymore and had to get out their razors."

On Friday—the students' last day of school before summer break and the day of the Pens' eventual elimination—one Baldwin teacher and one Baldwin student were crowned as 2013 Playoff Beards Against Cancer winners, having received the most donations in their categories. Their trophies?: Pucks with disposable razors attached to them by hockey tape.

The student winner was Tommy Mowers, who raised $265. The winning teacher was Jon Tietz (Science), who raised $138. Total donations amounted to $857.

The picture above shows all of the teachers and students who stuck with their facial hair throughout the playoffs.

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