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The students in the Mr. and Ms. Spartan charity fundraiser have been rehearsing this week for their final pageant performances. 

The rehearsals, which have taken four or five hours after school every day this week, are designed to polish routines that have been in the works for months. 

Haley Wilson, one of the pageant's three head coordinators, said the final push to prepare for performances tonight and Saturday at Corvallis High School follows a four-month fundraising season during which the competition’s 28 participants have worked nearly every day to raise money for local charities.

“We know each other on a much deeper level after Spartan,” she said.

Wilson and her fellow head coordinators said the pageant performance Saturday, and the public dress rehearsal tonight, are a celebration of the effort the students have given for the competition, which last year raised nearly $129,500 for local charities.

This year the competition benefits the Mario Pastega House, the Good Samaritan Regional Cancer Center, the ABC House, the Starker Arts Garden for Education and the Corvallis Environmental Center.

Tickets are still available for the dress rehearsal and the pageant itself, which both start at 7 p.m. at Corvallis High School’s auditorium at 1400 NW Buchanan Ave. Tickets for tonight’s performance, which includes every part of the pageant performance except the announcement of the total funds raised and the students named Mr. and Ms. Spartan, are $8.

For Saturday’s performance, which includes a silent auction for $3,000 worth of items at intermission, tickets are $15. Contact spartanheadcoordinators2017@gmail.com to buy tickets.

Colleen Corrigan, also a head coordinator, said the Mr. and Ms. Spartan participants basically agree to surrender their senior years to charity, but they get a lot out of it.

“This can completely transform your high school experience,” said Corrigan, a senior herself.

Hannah Whipple, the third head coordinator and a senior, said the students in the competition feel like the community has done so much to support their school and they want a way to give back.

Mr. and Ms. Spartan contestant pairs each organize a fundraising event, help out with other contestant’s events and write at least 200 letters each asking for contributions.

The performances include a dance routine with all the event’s male participants, one with all the female participants, and one featuring all the participants. The show also features three group talent performances, including stand-up routines and singing, along with interviews with contestants and presentations by the charities that benefit from the competition.

Corrigan said the pageant performances give the public a chance to see a different side of high school students than the stereotypes that portray them as materialistic people who are always on their phones.

“This program just contradicts everything an older person might assume about high schoolers,” she said.

Whipple, also a senior, added that participants work as hard as they do by choice.

“It’s a student-initiated program: it gets done because students want to get it done,” she said.

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Anthony Rimel covers education and can be reached at anthony.rimel@lee.net, 541-758-9526, or via Twitter @anthonyrimel.

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