Mr. WHS coming to Boone
It's about to get hot, really hot, at Watauga High School.
A tradition is back for its 10th year: The Mr. WHS Pageant, and this year's theme is firemen.
"It's a male beauty pageant to raise money," WHS student body president and Mr. WHS hopeful Dylan Russell said.
Each contestant has to model two "wears." This year's themed "wear" is "heat wave." The other wear must show off the contestant's alter-ego.
Russell rocked the house in last year's "circus" themed contest.
"My animal wear was pretty crazy last year," he said. "I was a frog."
As for this year? "It's a secret, sorry," he said.
It's a contest Russell takes very seriously.
"I'm determined to become Mr. WHS," he said. "There have only been nine other Mr. WHS [winners], and I plan on being the 10th one, but we'll have to wait and see what the judges think."
He'll have competition. So far, more than 40 students have signed up, and kids have until March 24 to vie for the crown.
While stage antics are the draw, this year's contest will be more about the cause.
"We want the boys to know why they're doing it ... not just for the spotlight," student council's Abby Foster said.
Over the past decade, the pageant has raised more than $100,000 for needy families.
"This year, our goal is $45,000, and it's going to be hard because of the economy and not being at school so much [due to weather], but we can do it," Foster said. "We can do it."
Mr. WHS is a decade long tradition dating back to 2000 when WHS student council started the pageant to raise money for teacher Lan O'Laughlin.
O'Laughlin was battling cancer, and the $4,000 raised in the first year went to his treatment.
The pageant was expanded in 2008 to help multiple families. Last year, $41,000 was raised.
This year's pageant proceeds will go to three local families, the Saltmans, the Shields and the Assencios.
Six-year-old Elsie Saltman, a Mabel School student, is recovering from a brain tumor. Hardin Park third-grade teacher Kim Shields is battling non-Hodgkin's follicular lymphoma. Hardin Park fourth-grader Manuel Assencio is being treated for aplastic anemia.
Money raised will go directly to their families for expenses and treatment.
Male high school students wishing to be the next Mr. WHS must sign up and raise at least $200 by March 24.
The pageant is April 24 at 7 p.m. at the Watauga High School auditorium.