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The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

The student news site of Mount Carmel High School

The Caravan

MC goes bald for Baldrick’s

MC+shavees+raised+money+to+fight+childhood+cancer+before+getting+their+heads+shaved+in+front+of+the+school.
Ellie Menke (Mount Carmel Social Media)
MC shavees raised money to fight childhood cancer before getting their heads shaved in front of the school.

On March 14, 2024 in the Cacciatore Athletic Center Mount Carmel hosted its annual St. Baldrick’s event, shaving heads in culmination of fundraising to fight pediatric cancer. MC has been doing Baldrick’s for seventeen years now and has quite the history with the organization. Theology teacher and Director of Mission and Ministry Mr. John Stimler organizes it and has put a lot of time into it for many years now. It all started back in 2007 because there were students who had cancer that were attending MC.

“We had guys that people were walking the halls with that were fighting that battle, along with family members that had been diagnosed with cancer as well,” said Mr. Stimler. “I think early on it was much more prevalent, although we still have family members whose brothers and sisters get diagnosed with cancer, and so it was something that was important to the students at the time.” 

Actually, from the years 2012 to 2018 MC had one of the biggest St. Baldrick’s events in the United States with over a hundred thousand dollars being raised every year. This was for the most part due to two brothers, Rudy and Michael Melchiorre, who raised over $800,000 dollars while  at MC. They were the top fundraisers for St. Baldrick’s at the time, and it was a huge ordeal with news coverage every year at the fundraising event. Back then MC would have had between forty and fifty students shave their heads each year. 

Since then the program has diminished with fewer than twenty students shaving this year. The total amount of money raised was close to $11,000, with the largest portion being done by Sean Sweany who raised over $2,000 for child cancer research. He only beat out Will Walsh, the second largest fundraiser, by a few hundred though. 

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“We don’t have the Melchiorre’s here anymore to raise $100,000 on their own, but I think we can hit that $20,000 mark,” said Mr. Stimler. 

St. Baldrick’s has ranks called The League of Legendary Heroes, which is based on how long someone has been shaving their head. This year four people from MC were given the title of Squire of Hope for three years of service: juniors Leonard Siegal and James McCormac, senior Brady McQuillan, and English teacher Mr. Tim Baffoe. Mr. Chris Goolsby, Dean of Academic Records and Technology, also was given the title of Knight Commander of the Bald Table for ten years of head shaving. 

“I appreciate the fact that they recognize people who have been giving and doing it for several years,” said Mr. Goolsby. “For me I’m glad to know that I’ve had the opportunity to do that for ten years. In your own way you have done your little part. God is good every day. It’s our chance to do some of the holy work on this planet and help some other people.” 

Some students like junior Luca DeRosa got the chance to help shave their friends’ heads.

Along with the St Baldrick’s event some fun games organized by the student council were played to fundraise more money. One of these games was a bidding war to pie teachers, in which Mr. Baffoe, Mr. David McGovern, Mr. Brian Hurry, and Mr. Bill Nolan all got pied in the face. 

“He overbid,” said Mr. Baffoe of junior Conor Dukes, who paid $50 to smash his English teacher with a pie, “but I’m glad he did.”

But Baldrick’s is more than just a free haircut, a fun time, and a chance to do some good. Many MC teachers and students have known or know someone who is battling cancer. 

“I have had several students that I have taught that have died of cancer,” said Mr. Stimler. “So recognizing that lives cut too short and I know that the treatments that they tried with them as early high school students were what they did for adults and tried to use it on kids and it didn’t work. So unfortunately early on in my teaching career too many students died from childhood pediatric cancer.”

St. Baldrick’s is also an important chance to teach some life lessons to MC students.

“It’s a very worthwhile cause, but not just for raising the funds,” said Mr. Goolsby. “You can go on the internet and find the charities that spend the most money out of one dollar, and before I give to a charity I usually do that. Now St. Baldrick’s is not one of the top ones, but I’m okay with that because this is a charity that comes into schools like high schools and really shows students how to give. I think that it’s a great charity because it’s teaching young people about giving.”

There are students in MC who have not had any close friends or family who experienced cancer that do St. Baldrick’s every year simply because it’s an opportunity to do good and give.

“I started doing it my freshman year, and I’ve done it since,” said senior Dermott Doyle, a four time shavee. “I had an eighth grade teacher whose kid died of childhood cancer, and I guess that pushed me to start doing it. It supports one of my biggest beliefs which is that there should be more funding for cancer-related research.”

While some people do Baldrick’s because it’s a good deed, others have a much more personal relation with cancer and it’s important to them to be able to help in some way.

“I hate cancer with a passion,” said Mr. Goolsby. “I had a sister die of cancer and currently have a brother with cancer. It’s just a scourge on society, there’s lots of horrible diseases, but that one, the way it ruins so many lives. I don’t use the word ‘hate’ very often, but I think it’s okay to hate something like that.”

Most people either know someone who has had cancer or know someone who knows someone that has had cancer.

“I had a friend who had pediatric brain cancer who passed away in the seventh grade,” said Mr. Jack Murphy, an MC math teacher who also got his head shaved in the gym. “He’s always been a big inspiration for me to do Baldrick’s. I kind of just do it in his honor. You never can say cancer wins right because it dies when you do. He fought the good fight and eventually took cancer down with him.”

Something a lot of students worry about is shaving their head and they don’t want to have to go through the trouble of re-growing their hair.

“I was talking to some students and they were like ‘I would never be able to do that’ and ‘I could never shave my head’,” said Mr. Murphy. “I think the whole point is that you’re showing support for the people who don’t have that choice, and for the people who are fighting these massive battles. So it’s kind of in a way standing in solidarity. I think that’s really the cool part about it.”

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About the Contributor
James McCormac '25, Staff Writer
James McCormac is a junior at Mount Carmel. He lives in Bridgeport and attended Old Saint Mary's Grammar School. James is a member of the Varsity football team, the chess team, boxing, and The Merchant. Outside of school James enjoys doing volunteer work. His hobbies are reading and lifting.