Penn Debate Coach Gains Team Trophy, Loses Hair!

Posted on January 31, 2024

To celebrate Penn’s Speech and Debate Team State Debate Tournament winning Penn’s first Debate Team Championship ever instead of just having a celebratory party (which the team did), they also through in a “team activity.”

After school on Tuesday, January 30th, Team Captains and students got to cut off their Team Coach Mr. Jeremy Starkweather’s hair! Mr. Starkweather is known for his golden, poofy afro. But to motivate the team to win the ISSDA State Debate Tournament, he told his team captains last summer when they were at the National Competition that the students could cut his hair if they won the State Championship in 2024. Of course the team won, so that meant Mr. Starkweather had to give up his golden locks. Click to watch the TikTok video belowClick to see the full photo gallery.

To make the fun go for a good cause, Mr. Starkweather reached out to the students who run Short Hair Because We Care to donate his hair. Remarkably but not surprisingly, Mr. Starkweather had 9 inches to donate! Because he was donating his hair, the students couldn’t just shave his head with clippers, his hair had to be sectioned off and braided into mini-pony tails, which made the process a little longer. But the payoff was worth the wait for the students!

It was quite the turnout to see this big event. Not only were the Debate students there, but so were other Penn students who heard about it, Principal Dr. Sean Galiher, and other Penn teachers and coaches. Even PHM District administration and Superintendent Dr. Thacker turned out for the big show. Dr. Thacker even had the honorary last cut!

Dr. Thacker cutting Mr. Starkweather's hair

Mr. Starkweather with no hair

One of the Team Captains Bella Schaetzle’s mother is a hair stylist and loaned her daughter the tools to cut Mr. Starkweather’s hair. She also graciously offered to clean up his “cut” once the students were done. Below is what Mr. Starkweather looks like the day after on Wednesday, January 31st. He says his hair should grow back in a few months!

Mr. Starkweather the day after 1-31-24 Mr. Starkweather Day After 1-31-24

Thanks for being a good sport and such a dedicated coach Mr. Starkweather!

See the full photo gallery below …


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Last Modified January 31, 2024