Mr. MHS fights hunger in competition

By Lindsay Devereux | Managing Editor of Design

10 high school seniors will dance, perform talents and even profess their love for their moms, all in order to raise money for food for local children, and will be featured in Saturday night’s annual Mr. MHS Pageant.

Selected nearly a year ago, the 10 senior boys chosen by their peers to participate in the Mr. MHS program have worked for months to raise money for the Share Bear Snack Pack Program.  They have been assisted by their senior girls, senior coordinators Spencer Hurbis, Chelsea Pettett and Kaila Tripp, junior coordinators Jodi Mork and Sierra Pedro and staff advisor Jennifer Bunnell. On Saturday night, the boys will put on a pageant, the culminating event of the program.

“The pageant will be the grand finale of the whole thing,” Bunnell said. “All their fundraising and hard work will pay off.”

The participants competing for the coveted title of “Mr. MHS” are Sebastian Bartlett, Wesley Bauer, Connor Devereux, Jonathan Mapilisan, Jacob McAvoy, Doug Molzahn, Shayne Sadler, Nolan Scoville, Mike Stephens, and Jason Sweet. They will be judged for different segments of the pageant including an interview portion and a talent presentation. They will also earn points based on the amount of money they have raised.

The primary goal of the pageant is to raise money for local charities, with the current goal of reaching $20,000 after raising over $18,000 in 2012. The program contributes the funds raised to the local Share Bear Snack Pack Program.  According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Oregon has the highest percentage of hungry children in America, and Mr. MHS is striving to prevent child hunger in the community. The program provides bags of non-perishable food for underprivileged children to take home over the weekends and on school breaks.

“The program focuses primarily on helping child hunger,” Bunnell said. “The boys put a lot of work into raising money for this organization.”

Tripp believes the pageant is very important for the community.

“We don’t often like to believe that kids here [in Coos Bay] are starving, but it’s true,” Tripp said. “The pageant helps those families out both by volunteering and by raising money.”

The Share Bear Snack Pack program’s relationship with Mr. MHS is organized by ORCCA employee Becky Yeager.

“The Snack Pack program keeps on growing,” Yeager said. “We’re helping more kids and receiving more funding every year.”

The Snack Pack Program currently collaborates with eight local schools and provides over 720 kids with nutritious meals and snacks. Many of the participating schools raise money for the Snack Pack program, but Yeager especially enjoys the Mr. MHS pageant participation.

“They bring so much energy with them,” Yeager said. “When we snack pack, they’re always coming up with ways to have fun. They have competitions and races and things get a little crazy; but we always have a good time.”

Tripp agrees.

“Although Snack Packing can get kind of boring, we have a little fun with it,” Tripp said.

Yeager really appreciates the help that the Mr. MHS participants bring.

“MR. MHS has been helping for at least four years,” Yeager said. “It’s a great thing for our community.”

When asked what he thought of the pageant, Stephens was optimistic.

“The program is a great opportunity for me,” Stephens said. “I’ve always wanted to be in it and here I am.”

Stephens has attended the pageant ever since he can remember. He especially enjoys the talent portion.

“Everyone’s talent is different,” Stephens said. “Some are funny, some are amazing, it’s just really entertaining.”

Yeager agrees the pageant is something to look forward to.

“I’ve always loved the pageant,” Yeager said. “Everyone does an amazing job.”

After 10 months of hard work, the pageant will take place this coming Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Marshfield Auditorium and will cost $5 at the door. Although Bunnell organizes the event, she gives most of the credit to the students involved.

“The kids honestly do all the work,” Bunnell said. “I just help keep them focused.”

Bunnell said she is looking forward to the pageant. When asked what to expect, she gave away little but said the night will be full of surprises.

“Expect some pure raw talent, a lot of laughter and even some tears,” Bunnell said. “I believe these boys are going to surprise you.”