By Colin MacGillivray
THE fundraising efforts of Wallan Secondary College year 11 student James Mileski and four teachers have resulted in nearly $3000 being donated towards men’s health causes.
James, who has been elected a college captain for 2021, decided to raise money for the Movember charity with a unique idea; rather than seek donations for growing a moustache during November as most who support the Movember charity do, he decided to shave his facial hair off – and enlisted some of his teachers to do the same.
James convinced teachers Jarrod Patterson, Brad Campbell, Luke Ellis and Chris Farnay to shear off their facial hair in support of the charity, raising donations from the college community throughout November.
By the end of the month the group had raised $2854 to support awareness and research for men’s mental health, suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
College executive assistant Lauren Mozina said it had been a fantastic initiative from James.
“He wanted to do something for the community, and he proceeded to get the teachers involved and have them join him,” she said.
“James put in for college captain for 2021 and he wanted to get involved with Movember.
“He’s been involved in our leadership group over numerous years, attending ANZAC Day services and similar things. He’s pretty community minded, and he just decided he wanted to give back.
“When Movember arrived he came and saw me and asked if I could help him put it together.
“He set up his own team, then went around to the teachers and worked out which ones would have the most hair to lose, then approached them and asked if they would be willing to join. Luckily they were all rapt to do it with him.”
Ms Mozina said the college community embraced the idea of a Movember shave.
“Our kids did a non-uniform day to help raise money to put towards it,” she said.
“We raffled a Monopoly board with the Movember version of the game, and the principal ended up winning it, so he donated it back and then we had a silent auction for it.
“We have a team donation page and every year level has a communicator, so they get to see it, they get to speak about it and offer encouragement throughout the whole process.
“We got the message out to our community as well. We put it on our Facebook site and our website, and they got to talk about the reasons they had chosen to do it. We had really good feedback from our staff as well.”
Casual Cuts at Wallan’s Wellington Square Shopping Centre threw its support behind James’ campaign, providing shaves for the team free of charge.
James and three of the teachers went under the razor at the barber on December 1, while Mr Ellis stayed at home and let his daughter shave him.
It was a particularly poignant occasion for Mr Ellis, who lost his brother-in-law to cancer 10 years ago.
Ms Mozina said some of the students had never seen their teachers without a beard before.
“Some of them have had their beards for numerous years and never shaved them off, so it was quite entertaining to see what they look like now,” she said.
“I had never seen any of these teachers without their beards.
“A couple of them didn’t tell their families that they were doing it, and our assistant principal Luke Ellis got his little girl to shave it off because she’s never seen him without it and he didn’t want her to freak out.
“She’s only three and she was quite hysterical thinking it was hilarious as she did it.
“You can definitely see a big difference in all of them – they look a lot younger. Let’s hope they keep it that way.”