The Robertson family from Louisiana are not the only ones being recognized for their facial hair.
Throughout the month of November, five men from Batesville Intermediate School (teachers Brett Matthews, Eric Peetz, Brett Hofer and Derek Suits and student teacher Alex Evans) participated in the Duck Dynasty Beard Project to help those in need in the community.
“We were talking about growing beards one day, and I just kind of made a suggestion that we could relate it back to doing something where the kids bring in something” to vote for the man with the most fantastic beard, Matthews recalls. “We decided to have them bring in nonperishables for the food pantry.”
The way the schoolwide competition worked was “all five of us had a duck pond, a kiddie pool. We had our faces and names above them, and we were named after one of the characters on ‘Duck Dynasty’ (an A&E TV show). The kids came in with their canned goods and voted by putting the items in the duck pond of the person they thought had the best beard.
“We all started at the beginning of November cleanshaven” and let their beards grow throughout the month. After that, they can shave if they would like to.
Four of his fourth-grade students shared their thoughts on the venture.
“I liked seeing my teacher grow his beard out,” Cody Sims noted.
Calley Kaiser said, “I liked giving food and seeing how many cans everybody got.”
Andrew Hoffbauer believed it was important to donate items “so everyone has food.”
Maddie Hanley added, “It will help our community grow and be healthy.”
Matthews hoped the students learned a valuable lesson from this competition. “I just feel they need to know there are less fortunate people than themselves. It’s important to give back when you can. Maybe it’s only one can or food item, but every little bit helps. It’s not about getting recognition for something, but humbly helping someone else.”
Principal Dr. Jere Schoettmer agreed. “This was such a cute little theme, something the kids know about. It’s important for them to know how to give back to the community that gives back to them.”
Prior to the winner (Peetz) being named, the youngsters revealed their favorites. “Mr. Peetz because he has a longer beard,” Hoffbauer pointed out.
Sims confessed, “I can’t pick one person. It’s between Mr. Suits and Mr. Peetz.” He also reassured his teacher by saying, “You won’t be in last place.”
The fourth-grade educator reported, “We received quite a bit of donations. I was happy.”
Now he has to decide what to do with his beard. “I’m thinking about letting it grow .... I’m past the itching stage.”
Hanley, Hoffbauer and Kaiser said, “Keep it,” while Sims announced, “Shave it.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.
Batesville Area Ministerial Food Pantry • Monetary donations can be mailed to Batesville Area Ministerial Association Food Pantry, P.O. Box 383, Batesville, IN 47006. • Food donations can be dropped off at St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 208 W. Pearl St., any time or at the pantry, 120 Sycamore St., Wednesdays from noon-4 p.m. The pantry will be closed Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. • Info: www.batesvillefoodpantry.org