LOS LUNAS — November is the time to let it grow.
Los Lunas Schools Superintendent Dr. Arsenio Romeo announced during the Oct. 19 Governing Committee meeting the first annual No Shave November competition to raise money for the New Mexico Cancer Center Foundation.
“I think a lot of people, when they think of me, they think of this beard that I have. I’m usually the outlier with it” Romero said. “It’s great to be able to (do this competition), as a community; it’s fun to do. It really supports a good cause and it usually gets people involved that in other ways can’t get involved in other things.”
Along with a $20 entry fee, participants will send photos of their beards ahead of the Nov. 28 deadline to compete for best beard.
Register to participate at the Los Lunas Schools Central Office, 119 Luna Ave., from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Beard growers can compete in several different categories — professional, for those with beards already longer than 6 inches; amateurs, for those with beards shorter than 6 inches; existing mustaches; and fresh shave to beard, for those that shave their face on the daily. Those competing in the fresh shave category must also submit a photo of themselves by Nov. 1, showing off their last shave for the month, before submitting the after photograph.
All participants will get a limited edition T-shirt, with winners earning trophies crafted by the Los Lunas High School shop class students, as well as bragging rights.
Garnering playful snickers and giggles from the meeting audience, Romero touted the inclusivity of the fundraiser to the council, saying “even women and those who cannot grow beards can participate.”
“We’ve also figured out a way to get everyone involved, so whether you are a kid or you are a female, there is a way for you to participate,” Romero said. “Which, in the end, is something fun for us to do and it supports a good cause.”
Those who wish to be a part of the fun but have a harder time growing a full face of facial hair have the option of participating in the “build your own beard” category, where participants can do just that.
The day following the meeting, Romero sent an email to his fellow Valencia County superintendents — Lawrence Sanchez with Belen Consolidated Schools, and Michael Ogas with School of Dreams Academy — with the simple message, “I will challenge you to this dual” and the LLS No Shave November entry form attached.
“I’m afraid if I did the No Shave November, I’d still look like I would at the end of October,” Ogas said with a laugh when the News-Bulletin asked if he planned on participating. Still, he is up for the challenge in the name of the good cause.
Sanchez also said he planned to participate, on the condition he could participate in the amateur category.
He said although he once had a long beard, he recently chopped it since it became too difficult to maintain. Also, he doesn’t think he will be able to grow out his current beard — which he estimates to be about 1 inch in length — long enough to participate in the pro category.
Both Sanchez and Ogas said they would extend the competition information to other staff in the district as well as students.
Romero added he also plans to challenge other local leaders in the county, such as the chiefs of police for both Los Lunas and Belen, and people who work for Valencia County.
He said anyone who wants to participate is welcome to, from parents to students to people in the county wanting to show their support.
“I’m hoping we get many people to participate,” Romero said. “It’s just a great community event. We all have fun doing it together. We kind of laugh with each other, and really in the end it does support a great cause.”
Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history.