Mr. WHS Pageant Raises $10,000 for Good Causes, Two Local Families in Need

Published Monday, December 21, 2015 at 10:49 am

 

Jackson Tucker, Clay Burchell, Andrew Nenow and Carey Harrell sing White Christmas

Jackson Tucker, Clay Burchell, Andrew Nenow and Carey Harrell sing White Christmas

Two local families and two local causes are $10,000 better off thanks to the 16th annual Mr. Watauga High School Pageant, an event that combines skits, musical numbers, and lots of laughs to produce an evening of fun and a legacy of giving for students at the high school.

Like a more conventional beauty pageant, contestants compete for the title of “Mr. Watauga High School” by dressing up and hitting the “runway”, sharing their talents, and answering questions asked by a panel of judges.

What’s different in this pageant is the gender of the contestants, the emphasis on humor, and this year, the seasonal theme of the event, including a panel of celebrity judges composed of Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and Buddy the Elf.

When all was said and done and the glitter settled, senior Michael Ebaugh took home the coveted crown and will carry the title of Mr. WHS as another honor achieved during his time at the high school.

The holiday season timing of this year’s pageant gave an extra dose of color to the entire competition and many of those in attendance proclaimed it the “best one yet.”

Much of that success is attributed to senior student council member and Pageant Director Heather Ostwalt, who began planning for the event over the summer.

“Heather truly embodies the heart behind Service Above Self, a motto for students at the high school,” remarked Emily Nolte, a social studies teacher and the Student Council advisor at WHS. “It’s not every day you get to change someone’s world, but when you get to watch a high school student do this, it blesses you to the core.”

The beneficiaries of this year’s event include the Seby Jones Cancer Patient Emergency Fund in honor of Joe Vines and family; the Building Hopes fund (an organization that donates Legos to hospitalized children) in memory of Joseph Dees; a local family in which the husband is enduring a difficult battle with esophageal cancer; and an additional local family facing unmet financial needs.

A Student Council letter encouraging participation in the event noted that the first pageant was held in 2000 as a benefit for WHS science teacher and swim coach Lan O’Laughlin as he was struggling with liver cancer. The success of that event, which raised over $4,000, led to making it an annual project for the school’s Student Council. The Student Council letter also stated that “year after year, this pageant is a wonderful display of students coming together to help others.”

Nolte commented that the Mr. WHS Pageant “is very dear to the hearts of students and staff at the high school, and has touched many lives over the last 16 years. It’s become an honored tradition that is a genuine source of pride for everyone in our school.”

In addition to ticket sales, Mr. WHS relies on many donations from individuals and local businesses that help sponsor the event. Nolte said “those donations are crucial to the success of the pageant and we are enormously grateful for the generous assistance of all those who make this such a wonderful expression of community caring.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation can still send the high school a check made out to WHS with “Mr. WHS Pageant” in the memo line. The address is 300 Go Pioneers Drive, Boone, NC 28607.

Mr. WHS - Pageant winner Michael Ebaugh with his mother and stepdad, Robin and Ollie Smith

Mr. WHS – Pageant winner Michael Ebaugh with his mother and stepdad, Robin and Ollie Smith

Hosts - Collin Linnville and Olivia Michael

Hosts – Collin Linnville and Olivia Michael

Judges - (faculty members) Jerry Moretz (Santa), Laura Carson (Mrs. Claus), Teresa Theiling (Rudolph), Brett Green (Buddy the Elf)

Judges – (faculty members) Jerry Moretz (Santa), Laura Carson (Mrs. Claus), Teresa Theiling (Rudolph), Brett Green (Buddy the Elf)

Paul and Isabella - contestant Paul Hagaman and escort Isabella Cutillo

Paul and Isabella – contestant Paul Hagaman and escort Isabella Cutillo

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