Have you ever wondered who is the driving force behind our coveted and hugely successful Movember campaigns? Of course, the boys themselves must take a massive amount of the credit for all their enthusiasm and effort. However, at the helm, and out of the spotlight, sits the very modest Mrs Spyropoulos, who has led the campaign since the start.
It was therefore wonderful to see Mrs Spyropoulos, Teacher of Geography, get the recognition she deserves when she scooped the ‘Mo Sista’ award in this year’s Movember Awards, held in the hip Shoreditch area of London on 27 February.
Mrs Spyropoulos first launched the fundraising and awareness campaign in 2012 with a group of Sixth Formers (now fondly referred to as the ‘Mo Bros’) to teach each other about mental and physical health issues. The boys then teach the 16-year-olds about testicular cancer, and they teach the 14 and 15-year-olds about mental health issues. They go into other schools as well and take assemblies. Mrs Spyropoulos told us, “To have boys who have had serious issues get up on a stage to tell other boys about them, shows things are changing, and it is becoming more acceptable for them to open up with each other.”
Every year the boys create a ‘Movember’ video for YouTube, which usually goes viral, helping raise awareness and communicate crucial messages about mens’ health.
Additionally, fundraising has taken place in a myriad of ways, from cycling around the world to shoe-shining, from Open Mic nights to themed mufti days, every boy in school has the chance to take part and contribute in some way. And in doing so, in the eight years that they have been supporting Movember, the school has raised a staggering £75,000.
When asked why she enjoys this role so much, Mrs Spyropoulos told us, “I work in a school of over 1,100 boys, and so I think it’s hugely important that they’re educated about their physical and mental health for now and in the future. I also think it’s a really good campaign; the boys are given a lot of ownership and they have quite a lot of autonomy. They can use their creativity, work together as a team and, as a learning experience, it’s really good for the boys to be involved in a big fund-raising and awareness campaign.”