CORVALLIS, Ore. – Last year the Mr. Spartan Pageant brought in over $135,000 for charities in the area – and this year students are back at it again with a new name: The Mr. and Ms. Spartan Pageant.
Thirty-three students are participating in the fundraiser – 28 of whom are seniors – the other five are juniors. The group has been fundraising since November – building up to the final pageant next month. This year’s proceeds will go to the Mario Pastega House, the Regional Cancer Center, and the Oregon Chapter of Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“Everyone who is participating wants to be here,” said one of the head coordinators, Meg Rodgers. “And everyone just wants to do the best possible job. And that’s not anything Sarah and I can control or any of the advisors can control. It’s just the attitude we have is so positive.”
Sarah Law, the other head coordinator, says the Spartan program differs from many other pageants across the region.
“We send out a lot of letters of support and I think that really points back to the Corvallis community and the communities within our families,” she said. “Because we get so much support from people in Corvallis and surrounding areas that it definitely gives us a boost over other programs.”
One of the charities the group is donating to is the Mario Pastega House, where hospital patients can temporarily stay if they are receiving treatment and live out of the area.
“When we visited the Mario Pastega House, that’s really the time when it clicks for all of the contestants,” Rodgers said. “Like what we’re raising money for. Because sometimes when we’re just putting on events, we get kind of caught up in it and it’s hard to realize where the money is going. And when we go to the Mario Pastega House it all kind of comes together as this is who we’re helping and this is the effect we’re having on our community. And I think it’s a really strong feeling for the entire group.”
On Monday, a Newport couple checked into the Mario Pastega House.
“I had a tumor removed from my brain,” said Clyde Smith, who is staying at the house with his wife. “I have chemo in the evening and radiation in the day time for six weeks.”
The house is on the hospital grounds, making it easy for patients and for family members to get back and forth to the facilities. It costs $20 to stay a night at the house, but nobody will be turned away if he or she cannot afford to stay there.
“It means a lot because my mom and I are on a very fixed income,” said Kati Silvia, who is also staying at the house. “We had to bring my dad over to the hospital last week because three of his organs were failing.”
Silvia lives in Newport, and if it weren’t for the house, she would have to make the drive every day.
“It would have cost less to drive than it would have been to stay in a motel,” she said. “The stress as it is when you have someone in the hospital is hard enough, but when you have to worry about everything else, the stress really builds up.”
Silvia says she is thankful for the fundraisers that keep the house open.
“It’s just really great to have a place like this to stay,” said Smith, who also voiced his appreciation.
The house continues to run the way it does with its help from the Corvallis High School Pageant. For more information about the fundraiser, click here. You can also e-mail the group at: firstname.lastname@example.org