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Putting on pink

Poplarville Superintendent Carl Merritt dyed his mustache pink Thursday boost student attendance and bring awareness to breast cancer. Merritt surprised these second graders at the Lower Elementary and visited each school to show off his new color job. Photo by Cassandra Favre

Poplarville Superintendent Carl Merritt dyed his mustache pink Thursday boost student attendance and bring awareness to breast cancer. Merritt surprised these second graders at the Lower Elementary and visited each school to show off his new color job.
Photo by Cassandra Favre


There are many mustached men that walk the streets of Poplarville every day.
Facial hair comes in a variety of different colors including black, brown, grey and, during one special Thursday, pink.
If residents happened to be downtown yesterday, they would have seen Poplarville School District Superintendent Carl Merritt sitting in a chair at Transitions Salon and Day Spa having his mustache dyed pink.
School district attendance interventionist Lisa Magee said that Merritt promised every student in the district that he would dye his mustache pink if the children reached attendance goals for the month of October.
“We try to maintain 96 percent or better attendance each month,” Magee said.
Claudia May is the owner of Transitions Salon and said this was the first time she dyed a man’s mustache.
May used pink hair chalk and said that the color can last up to 10 days.
“I think it’s very sporting of him to do this,” May said. “It’s going to be lot of fun for the children to see.”
Merritt said that dyeing his mustache pink serves two purposes including acknowledging the students’ attendance efforts and bringing awareness to the tremendous cause of breast cancer.
“I’m anticipating a lot of fun today and it’s one of the things that I get to do that is fun,” Merritt said.
Loletha Needham is the assistant principal at the Lower Elementary School and she said that Merritt’s pledge was a wonderful motivator for the students.
“The children seem to be surprised and enjoyed seeing him in that light,” Needham said.
Second graders at the lower elementary reacted with surprise and big smiles.
The students used a variety of adjectives to describe their superintendent’s new look including good, funny, awesome and crazy.
One student commented that he didn’t think Merritt would go through with it and said “the pink was a good color and that Merritt should kept it forever.”
Merritt said he is hoping his actions will start a trend and that more men will dye their facial hair pink for breast cancer.
“I personally challenge any man that has facial hair to consider dyeing it pink,” Merritt said.
Merritt spent the remainder of the day visiting each school as he showed off his colorful mustache.