Gervais High School students start plans for the March 8 Mr. and Miss Gervais Pageant

by: JEFF MCDONALD  - The participants in this years Mr. and Miss Gervais Pageant are (clockwise from left) Adam Jaramillo, coordinator Brandelyn Ifft, Leonel Olivas, Bailey Bichsel, Sierra Ifft (standing), Nikka Kolmogoroff, Lazzaro Villegas, Tyler Hansen (standing), coordinator Tito Rodriguez, Milla Snegirev, Carina Llamas and Daniel LaFollette. Ten contestants settled at the start of a five-month process to see who will be named the next Mr. and Miss Gervais.

But more importantly, they started a fundraising push that will raise thousands of dollars for Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and bring the whole school together, said Terry Witter, a retired Gervais High School teacher who co-organizes the event.

Contestants raised more than $18,000 at the event earlier this year and the school has contributed more than $150,000 to the hospital since 1992, Witter said.

“The pageant is not about setting fundraising goals and it is not about who wins, because everyone who participates is a winner,” he said.

Kids direct the pageant with the help of adult advisers and choreographers. The pageant will feature a medley of musical and dance acts, singing and comedy skits.

Early planning includes contestants conceptualizing their talents, which will be showcased in a pageant held March 8, 2014. A Western Oregon University choreography student will give choreography tips, Witter said.

Additional early efforts include composing letters for requesting donations from the community, he said.

Students also will visit Doernbecher Children’s Hospital Jan. 16, Witter said.

About one-third of the school participates in some fashion, including stage hands and pageant coordinators, who seek out volunteers. Contestants are expected to maintain an A or B average throughout the process.

Other fundraisers include a staff-versus-student volleyball game before Thanksgiving and a basketball match early next year, Witter said.

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