Shave hair to show you care - Catholic Courier

Shave hair to show you care

BRIGHTON — The all-male student body chanted like rowdy spectators at a pro-wrestling match cheering for their favorite grappler. These were the students of McQuaid Jesuit High School — which says it’s forming “men for others.” The budding altruists in the school gymnasium on the afternoon of Jan. 19 knew the man for others they wanted, as they repeated deep-voiced chants of “SIUDA, SIUDA, SIUDA!”

Who was this “Siuda” (pronounced “Shooda”)? And why did McQuaid’s neatly dressed young men sound like they were ready to either crown him king or consign him to a less desirable fate?

Turns out, the man the students wanted was Jeff Siuda, an English teacher at McQuaid. Students said he is popular — so popular that they wanted to reward him, like all students who love their teachers do, by choosing him for a special honor. Siuda was to sit in front of the assembly and lose all the hair on his head to an electric razor wielded by a McQuaid student.

“This is the first and only hair-shaving extravaganza at McQuaid Jesuit!” said senior Jeremy Marks, president of the students’ executive council. The follicle-hungry crowd roared in approval. The students had raised more than $8,300 for Jesuit Relief Services, which is aiding victims of the Dec. 26 Indian Ocean tsunamis. Additionally, McQuaid’s Jesuit community, its executive council and its middle-school students had donated $2,000 to relief efforts, helping the students exceed the $10,000 goal they had to meet to see a teacher’s head shaved.

As it turned out, the students got more hair than they bargained for, when Peter Wegman, a social studies teacher, also agreed to submit his locks to the razor. Wegman and Siuda were two of 10 teachers who agreed to potentially lose their hair for the fundraising effort. Five of the teachers’ names were drawn from a hat, and whichever one received the loudest applause from students was the chosen man. Siuda and Wegman both received substantial applause, so the students started chanting “Shave them both!”

Rather than split hairs over the level of applause each received, Wegman and Siuda graciously agreed to share the honor of being sheared. As Siuda’s head was shorn by David Vogt, a junior, some students cried “Eyebrows, eyebrows!” but the teacher drew the line.

Jeremy said “no one was out to get” Siuda and Wegman, but just wanted to help the victims in Southeast Asia. He and Joe Piehler, a senior who serves as executive council treasurer, said the students had undertaken a number of

efforts to raise money for relief efforts, including a bake sale that raised $800. The students also paid $5 each to dress in McQuaid’s black and gold school colors one day.

After playing the role of the biblical Sampson before the student body Delilah, Siuda was philosophical about his rapid hair loss.

“It was for a good cause,” he said. “It encouraged the kids to raise the money.”

He added that he did not fear the January winds soon to swirl about his naked skull.

“It’s a new adventure started,” he said.

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