Corvallis, Crescent Valley and Philomath high schools are holding their annual pageants to raise money for local and national charities. Last year, the three schools raised nearly $200,000 for their chosen nonprofits.
Thousands of high schools across the country hold similar pageants each year.
And Corvallis High School's Mr. Spartan pageant will have added meaning this year.
The pageant's theme, "If you do good, somewhere, somehow, someday, good will happen to you." is a popular saying by longtime Mr. Spartan supporter Mario Pastega.
Pastega, a local businessman and philanthropist, died Jan. 20 after a month-long illness. Especially generous to programs involving young people, Pastega gave a lot of his time and money to Mr. Spartan contestants and pageant projects. Last year, he donated $15,000 to the Mr. Spartan pageant.
For the past eight years, the Mr. Spartan pageant raised money for the Mario Pastega House at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. Patients and their families can stay there for little or no cost while undergoing treatment at the hospital.
"He's done so much for this pageant," said senior Britta Evenson, a Mr. Spartan pageant co-coordinator. "When we found out he passed away, we decided to dedicate this pageant in his memory."
Evenson said that a video tribute to Pastega likely will be included in the Mr. Spartan pageant in April.
For the first time in years, Crescent Valley High School's Mr./Ms. CV pageant is being advised by someone other than Craig Ellingson. This year, health teacher Kristina Stone and math teacher Erika Gabonay are serving as co-advisors.
The move means that Ellingson, who teaches, coaches and serves as the school's athletic director, has more time to focus on his other duties.
"It's been really fun so far," Stone said. "But as I look at my calendar, pretty much every week through April is booked."
The format of the Mr./Ms. CV pageant and many of its fundraisers will remain the same, but Stone said some new events are joining the traditional mix of fun and service in the cause of charity. The latest:
"We are holding a prom for adults in March," Stone said. "That should be interesting." Details to come.
Philomath High School's Mr. PHS pageant will have five contestants this year - one fewer than last year. However, the biggest change will be the pageant's venue.
In past years, the pageant was staged inside the PHS gym. Beginning in March, however, the gym will be under construction. So this year's pageant will be held at Philomath Elementary School.
"It makes things a little harder," said advisor Terry Garvin. "But we are going to do the best we can to raise money. We have a great group of guys this year."
After a two-year run, there is no Mr. SC pageant at Santiam Christian High School for 2012.
Principal Wilbur Starr said math teacher Kelly Cudney - who took on organization of the pageant for the past two years - resigned in August to do missionary work. No one else was able take on the pageant project this year.
"By the time we got someone to replace her, it was too late to start putting it all together," Starr said. "It's a big job that takes a lot of work."
Starr said that he hopes the Mr. SC pageant will resume again next year.
Raju Woodward can be contacted at 758-9526 or firstname.lastname@example.org