Students sprout their stuff in OCSD Movember contest at Laguna Hills High

By Lou Ponsi

It’s been hairy in the quad at Laguna Hills High School.

Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Anthony Sambrano is happy about that.

As part of a campaign designed to raise awareness about prostate and testicular cancers, along with other health issues affecting men, Sambrano — school resource officer at LHHS — encouraged Laguna Hills students, faculty and administrators to grow facial hair during November.

Laguna Hills High student Francine Choi, center, joins in the fun during the Movember moustache contest at the school Thursday, Nov. 30.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

To culminate the campaign, participants took center stage in the Laguna Hills quad on Thursday, Nov. 30, when gift cards were awarded for best and worst moustache, best beard, best natural beard and best beard-moustache combo.

Letting whiskers grow above the upper lip throughout November is a ritual started by the “Movember” Foundation, a global charity that raises funds and awareness for issues related to men’s health.

One in 10 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, making it the second most common cancer in men in the U.S., according to the foundation.

Laguna Hills High teacher Nate Garden, right, judges students during the Movember moustche contest at the school during break.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“I wanted them to do it, not only to build morale between me and them … but at the same time, if they (did) grow it and somebody (said) something, tell them why (they) are growing it,” Sambrano said. “With us men, the machismo comes out in us or we say that (cancer) can’t happen to us, but the reality is that all these things can happen.”

The deputy didn’t simply tell others to grow facial hair.

He grew a moustache himself.

So did Vice Principal Jay Chadwick, who grew a full beard, then shaved most of it the night before the contest, leaving himself with a Hulk Hogan-style ’stache.

Members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department gather with students at Laguna Hills High School and some faculty members for the Movember moustache contest at the school.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“The deputy sold us on the idea of promoting men’s health awareness for the kids and as many as you see out here, the kids (had) a great time with it,” Chadwick said.

Chadwick wasn’t planning to keep the facial hair a minute past midnight on the day of the awards presentation.

“I’m going to shave it immediately,” the vice principal said. “The family is embarrassed by it.”

Sporting a perfectly manicured red-haired beard, senior Erik Remsnyder won a $25 restaurant gift card for having the best beard.

Deputy Anthony Sambrano congratulates Laguna Hills High School student Omid Abediyeh as he hands him an award for his beard.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Remsnyder started growing the facial hair in August, right about the time Sambrano began distributing a flyer promoting the event, “Shave the date.”

“Some of my family members have some of the (men’s health) problems so I just wanted to support the cause,” Remsnyder said. “I couldn’t have done without the help of my mother and father going to the beard store every day and buying my beard oil.”

Chadwick expressed gratitude to Sambrano, and said the effort was above and beyond the deputy’s role as a school resource officer.

“We like the fact that our SRO and the Sheriff’s Department, in particular, gets involved in school-related activities because they don’t have to,” Chadwick said. “They can come on campus and just enforce the law. The fact that Deputy Sambrano interacts with the public and meets with families and gets involved with school activities is great.”

OCSD Deputy Anthony Sambrano, second from right, with some faculty members and administrators at Laguna Hills High School who all got into the spirit as they judged the Movember moustache contest on Thursday, Nov. 30. From left is Assistant Principal Jimmy Martin; Nate Garden, teacher; Assistant Principal Jay Chadwick; Dep. Anthony Sambrano and David Zogg, teacher.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC